Thieves cash in on Tesco self-service tills

LORNA MARSH Security loopholes at Tesco self-service tills have resulted in thieves stealing thousands of pounds from its customers, research reveals today.

LORNA MARSH

Security loopholes at Tesco self-service tills have resulted in thieves stealing thousands of pounds from its customers, research reveals today.

The EDP warned of the dangers of the tills, where customers can scan through items themselves and then pay by debit or credit card up to a maximum of £50 without putting in their pin or being asked for their signature.

But the warnings were effectively ignored by Tesco earlier this year when the supermarket giant said fraud was kept down by security at the tills, transaction limits and CCTV cameras.

At around 200 stores - a number of which are in East Anglia, including several in Norwich and one in King's Lynn - self-service tills exist to make checking out quicker for shoppers. Critics claim it is a money-saving exercise as the company does not have to employ as many checkout staff.

And research by Which? magazine has shown that because the system does not require a pin or signature thieves use stolen or cloned plastic to pay for shopping at the tills.

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The magazine said it had been contacted by several angry people who had been stung in this way, with some being taken for almost £1,000.

Money stolen from customers by thieves using the self-service tills was later returned by the victims' banks.

Neil Fowler, editor of Which?, said: "It is hard to believe that the UK's biggest supermarket is making it so easy for criminals to use stolen credit cards in their stores. We think it is highly irresponsible.

"As a shop that prides itself on caring about its customers, we can only hope they close this obvious loophole and introduce standard security procedures in the very near future."

A spokesman for Tesco, said: "We do not have a higher fraud rate at self-service checkouts." But he added the supermarket would be rolling out chip and pin by the end of the year.