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First Direct has written to one hundred thousand of its customers warning them of the danger of cashpoint-based fraud. The bank is warning the ten per cent of its customers who use cashpoints most frequently that they are increasing the risk of being a victim of such fraud.

A spokeswoman for First Direct told The Register: "It is like crossing the road, every time you do it there is a small risk, so you shouldn't do it more than you have to. If someone is taking out £20 three times a day they're increasing their chances of cashpoint fraud." Apacs estimates £39m was lost to cashpoint fraud in 2003.

The spokeswoman said the bank was not advocating carrying large amounts of cash: "We are just warning people of the risks and advising them that there are alternatives," she said.

Police in Carlisle, Cumbria last month found a device attached to an cashpoint which copied cards put in the machine. Thieves had also installed a pinhole camera to pick up customers PIN numbers. ®

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