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Man used MP3 player to hack ATMs

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A man in Manchester, England has been convicted of using an MP3 player to hack cash machines. Maxwell Parsons, 41, spent £200,000 of other people's money after using the machine to read card details.

Parsons plugged his MP3 player into the back of free standing cash machines and was able to use it to read data about customers' cards. That data could then be used to 'clone' cards and use them for bogus purchases.

Free-standing machines are typically found in shops and bars, and they allowed Parsons to plug his machine into the back of them in a way that would be impossible in wall mounted dispensers.

The MP3 player recorded customer details as they were transmitted over phone lines to the bank. Tones were read as they were transmitted and used to clone cards.

The case was heard at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester. Parsons was sentenced to 32 months in prison for the scam. Though £200,000 was spent on the cards, police said they believed that Parsons himself only earned £14,000 through it.

Police uncovered the scam almost by accident when they stopped Parsons for making an illegal u-turn in a car in London. They found a fake bank card in his possession and searched his home in Manchester, where they found the evidence with which to prosecute.

He denied the charges of fraud at first but eventually admitted to possessing equipment to make a false instrument, deception and unlawful interception of a public telecommunication transmission. He is believed to have had accomplices.

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OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

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