Business Against Crime in Leeds (BACIL) is calling on shoppers and individuals to be aware of a new scam which sees thieves use mobile Point of Sale machines to steal money through contactless bank cards.
Sean Walker, BACIL manager, said: “Thieves today are using increasingly tech-savvy ways to defraud members of the public.
“There has already been a lot in the news about criminals tampering with ATM machines to steal debit cards and take money from customers’ bank accounts - known as Lebanese Loop.
“Now, criminals are able to purchase mobile devices relatively cheaply online and with the advent of contactless payment.
“All they need to do is enter an amount less than £30, touch the device on the pocket containing your wallet and money can be automatically transferred out of your account.
“It’s that easy.
“In busy places, such as trains, buses and packed bars, a person bumping against you is commonplace and would largely go unnoticed.
“However, it could be costly.
“We are therefore calling on people to look out for individuals acting suspiciously and to be careful about where they store their cards.
“Some card readers can even scan through wallets and purses, so storing one in your back pocket is not advisable.”
Contactless cards were first introduced in 2008 and figures show around one out of every seven UK sales is made through a contactless payment.
The cards can be used for purchases under £30 without the need to enter a PIN.
BACIL works alongside Leeds City Council. West Yorkshire Police, Safer Leeds and over 330 business throughout the city.