How This Old-School Criminal Device Ended Up Being Named After Lebanese

Isobel Williams

The “Lebanese loop” might sound like the name of a band or a musical instrument but it’s really just the name of a device that’s used by thieves to steal money.

The device earned its name for being popular among fraudsters originating from Beirut. In fact, not only was it first used by Lebanese, it is believed that the tool was invented by Lebanese as well.

While it might be upsetting that this device has given Lebanese a notorious rep, it has been used by gangs and thieves around the world, not just Lebanese.

There have been reported of the scam in ATMs across the world from France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

It is reportedly most popular among Eastern European criminals.

So what is it?

The Lebanese loop is a simple piece of plastic that, when inserted into an ATM, will cause any card to get stuck in the machine.

Isobel Williams

This will give criminals the chance to take the card for themselves once the cardholder angrily leaves thinking the machine “ate” their card.

By that time, whichever criminal was lurking nearby has had the chance to see the victim enter their PIN and will then commit ATM fraud and identity theft.

People who feel like their card is stuck might try to enter their PIN more than once allowing the criminal to get a better view of the number.

The criminal might even pretend to be a friendly stranger expressing concern as an excuse to get near the ATM.

In this case, people shouldn’t re-enter their PIN to avoid being a victim of the “Lebanese loop” and should probably be wary of people standing nearby.

Countering the Lebanese loop

ATM manufacturers have noted the threat that comes with the use of the “Lebanese loop” and have tried to make changes to counter it.

Additionally, a lot of ATMs these days have built-in cameras to help identify the true cardholder from the fraudster in case a crime does take place.