REVELLERS have been tricked out of hundreds of pounds as a result of a “shoulder surfing” scam in clubs and pubs.
Thieves stand close by as their intended victim pays for drinks using plastic and note the PIN number.
They then steal the bank cards from their purse or wallet later in the evening when the owner is worse the wear for drink, according to police.
Thieves take a peek at the PIN then stal the cards later on
The scam has proved popular in upmarket bars in Edinburgh where many customers pay for their drinks using cards.
Several people have lost hundreds of pounds after criminals withdrew the maximum daily amount on their card from a cash machine.
Police are advising the public to ensure they always cover the keypad when entering their pin number.
Inspector Gill Geany said the: “This type of scam has not previously been a common one.
“The culprits are taking advantage of people’s vulnerability, especially when they are under the influence of alcohol.
“All of the cases have been debit cards and some people have lost hundreds of pounds because the maximum amount of money has been withdrawn.
“We would ask people to be particularly vigilant in bars or clubs where it is busy and noisy and try to be aware of who might be looking over your shoulder.”
Two men, aged 23 and 25, have been arrested and charged with theft and fraud following a number of incidents in the city centre between May 10 and 13.
It is alleged they obtained the pin numbers of people using their debit cards to pay for drinks at bars and clubs in the city centre, before stealing their purse or wallet and using their card to withdraw cash at nearby bank machines.
The accused were remanded in custody after appearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday.
Police have been working with staff in the licensed trade to make them aware of the crime and the part they can play to prevent it.
They have also reminded customers to keep personal belongings such as cards, purses, wallets and mobile phones in their possession at all times.