Police have issued a warning to businesses after a team of scammers made three fraud bids in Aberdeen.
A team of scammers struck at different city firms using a distraction technique.
While three of the men distract staff, another uses the card machine to refund themselves cash before making off.
The incidents happened on Monday and Tuesday.
A firm was hit by the team of four on Monday, with an attempt made to nab £8,000.
Two further attempts were made on Tuesday, while a bid was made to steal £6,000 at the House Spa on Great Western Road.
Officers are on the lookout for four men in relation to the incidents.
The first is black, 6ft 3in tall and with a slim build, who was wearing sweat pants, a zip-up jumper and a black North Face jacket.
The other three men are Asian, with all of them around 5ft 10in tall.
All four had either Birmingham or London accents.
While the cash has been taken from the businesses, police are treating the offences as attempted fraud until the transactions have been cleared and the money has been removed from the firms.
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PC Jim Watson, of the North East Crime Reduction Unit, said: “We are advising businesses in and around Aberdeen to be aware following a number of recent reports of attempted fraud in Aberdeen involving the use of card machines.
“While members of the group distract staff in the shop, the other members of the group are taking the card payment machine, which is in easy access on the shop counter, inserting their own bank cards and then authorising a refund onto their cards before returning the card payment machine to the counter.
“It is not until later the businesses are realising they have been the victim.”
PC Watson also issued advice to firms, saying: “I am urging all businesses to be alert to this technique.
“Do not leave your card payment machines on open display where anyone could easily pick it up without your knowledge.
“Be alert to anyone entering more than the normal amount of digits while using the card machine.
“If you feel uneasy or suspicious at all contact Police Scotland on 101.
“Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101.”