ATMs: Fake Bills Cut Change

A couple using an ATM next to a man using the adjacent ATM.

The ideal targets of this scam are international tourists in big cities, even in public and crowded areas. Scammers around an ATM will aim to those they believe are unfamiliar with the local currency.

It can be any type of ATM (whether they belong to a bank, a specific circuit or the anonymous ones), as long as the spot is frequented, preferably outdoors and with two or more machines close together.

1) How it works

While the potential victim is using the targeted ATM, the scammer usually starts pretending a withdrawal at the next ones.

They’ll will make sure to show while they “withdraw” their money and the receipt from the ATM and to end their parade at the same time as the victim.

Once finished, they will speak to the target and try to gain some confidence. Then they will offer to break the victim’s big cuts with the little ones they just “withdrawn”.

Two people using two adjacent ATMs.
Outside ATMs adjacent to each other. (Credit - Aimee via Pexels)

2) What You Risk

The withdrawal receipt waved in the victim’s face is probably one of those tossed in the nearby trash can by previous customers.

You may lose the entire traded amount as the received banknotes will be fake.

3) How to Avoid it

The golden rule here is, do not accept sudden and random deals from strangers. Especially in situations where you are handling money or sensitive data (as your financial cards) for other reasons. Furthermore, in this specific case there is really no reason to accept such offer.

5) Extras and Thoughts

A few years ago a group of scammers doing this fraud, in Prague, was exposed thanks to the work of HONEST GUIDE (here their YT channel).

This scam doesn’t happen exclusively near an ATM, any time you receive change it could be fake money. We will try to explore possible scenarios through our articles.

A similar scam is mentioned here (“7+1 Taxi Scams Every Traveler Should Know”).

Content Disclaimer

All images are licensed under CC0, CC BY, or CC BY-SA and belong to their respective authors.

error: Content is protected !!