What Is The Lebanese Loop?

The number of instances of ATM fraud around the world is on the increase, and it represents a huge drain on profits for the banks, as well as a major inconvenience for the victims.

One method of ATM fraud that you should be aware of, so that you can avoid it, is known as ‘The Lebanese Loop’.


Here’s how this fraud is committed –

The unsuspecting victim inserts their card into the ATM as normal. However, the machine will report back that the service is currently unavailable. Unfortunately, their card is not returned.

Conveniently, a stranger happens to be passing by and stops to offer some ‘helpful advice’ – they will say that they experienced the exact same problem very recently but worked out how to get their card back.

They will then go on to say that all they did, and all you have to now do, is enter your PIN number twice and then press ‘cancel’ and the card will then be returned.

If the victim doesn’t realise what is going on here then they may well follow these instructions, only to find that their card is not returned. Moving on, they resolve to contact their bank later in order to retrieve their card.

After the victim has left the ATM, the helpful stranger will show their true colours by removing the plastic bag that they hard hidden in the ATM’s card slot.

What they had done was to capture the bank card in a manner that allowed the ATM to realise a card was present whilst not being able to read the data on it, hence the error message given to the victim.

After ‘looping’ the card out, the scammer is then free to withdraw as much money as they wish as the victim has very kindly showed them their PIN number – twice!

Remember, never accept help from strangers where bank or credit cards are concerned – you just can’t be sure of their motives.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


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