Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Bank ATM scam at $1m and rising

Police are wanting to question this man regarding a series of recent ATM skimming offences. Photo / Supplied
Police are wanting to question this man regarding a series of recent ATM skimming offences. Photo / Supplied

Police have released an image of a man spotted near ATM machines targeted in a skimming scam which has netted $1 million from unsuspecting bank customers.

Bank internal investigators and police have struggled to track the scam, the biggest in New Zealand.

Up to 500 cardholders are believed to have used affected ANZ and National Bank machines in Auckland suburbs including Parnell, Ponsonby, Takapuna and Howick.

One man last used his card in Northcote, on the North Shore, and lost $1300, which was withdrawn in Bangkok - a city he has never visited.

Another victim's money was stolen in several $500 withdrawals in South Africa.

Detective Senior Sergeant Russ Bagley, of the Auckland police financial crime unit, said the offending total was around $1 million and rising.

Several people are believed to have carried out the fraud in the past seven weeks, using "skimming" machines to steal people's information and then sending it to associates overseas.

The fraudsters fit a device over the slot where the card is inserted into the ATM. They collect information from the card's magnetic strip and a small camera above the keyboard records the PIN being entered.

Similar cases over the past six years have netted more than $100,000 and involved conmen from Russia, Romania, Canada and Malaysia.

An ANZ National spokesman said the bank was working closely with police to catch the criminals.

"The best way to put skimmers out of business is for ATM users to be vigilant to suspicious activity around ATMs, and to cover the keypad with their hand when entering their PIN."

Do you know this man?

Anyone who can identify this man or knows his whereabouts should contact Detective Senior Sergeant Russ Bagley on 09 302 6972 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

- NZ Herald

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