A MOTHERWELL councillor is urging Christmas shoppers to keep an eye on their bank statements after being stung in a card cloning scam.
Michael Ross says he had around 100 stolen, while almost 300 was swiped from his sister's account.
He explained: "What surprised me the most was I went on holiday to the US and Caribbean earlier this year and had to go through a rigmarole to get my cards authorised for use over there.
"But when this happened, I was happily buying groceries while on the other side of the world, money was being stolen from me in Colombia.
"I thought the banks had software systems to spot and stop this."
Michael believes his card may have been skimmed in the local area before the details were used abroad.
His sister Marie Kane, who also lives in Motherwell, suffered a similar fate, with money being drawn from her account in Argentina.
Fortunately, Marie has received the money back through her bank, while Michael hopes to be reimbursed following investigations.
Local police say that most cloned card incidents are investigated by banks themselves.
However, the Times reported last month that an investigation was launched after a skimming device was fitted to an ATM on Leven Street.
PC James Ruddell said: "There should never be anything flimsy or removable on the ATM, give it a tap or a pull and if something comes off, it should not have been there. Take it into the shop or bank and phone the police."
Full story in December 16 edition of Motherwell Times
"It is always good practice to cover the keypad as you enter your PIN number because if your card is skimmed but the criminal does not have your PIN, they can do nothing."
QUESTIONS over what went wrong last week during the worst of the winter weather are being asked by leading politicians - and a call has been made for North Lanarkshire's roads boss to quit.
Motherwell and Wishaw MP Frank Roy asked the leader of the House of Commons for a proper debate on the matter last week.
He said: "Towns in my constituency and throughout central Scotland have resembled a scene from Armageddon. Children have not been able to get home from school and have had to stay there overnight, students have had to stay in colleges, lorries have been abandoned, people have been stuck in cars for 14 hours, there have been fuel and food shortages, and now the Army is on the streets trying to clear the ice.
"Things need to change in the United Kingdom. We need to respond far better and far more quickly."
Sir George Young, leader of the House, responded: "There are real difficulties, but in Scotland most of the responsibility for addressing them has been devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
"Any support the Westminster Parliament can extend to Scotland will be given."
SNP group leader on North Lanarkshire Council Richard Lyle criticised the response of the authority to the big freeze, adding that planning and transportation convener James Coyle should resign from his post because of the failings.
Councillor Lyle said: "The council's response to the big freeze was inadequate to say the least, In comparison to South Lanarkshire, North Lanarkshire's roads were left treacherous with little or no effect from the gritting that did take place.
"The lack of snow ploughs and grit lorries exacerbated the problems of gridlock and brought the county to a standstill.
"Constituents could not get out of housing estates with many unable to go about their daily business, due to the lack of treatment of the housing scheme roads.
"Councillor Coyle failed the people in North Lanarkshire when dealing with the biggest winter crisis of the last four decades."
Meanwhile Central Scotland MSP Alex Neil called on Lanarkshire's councils to ensure that the local roads and pavements they are responsible for are cleared as soon as possible.
He said: "The main trunk roads in Scotland are the responsibility of the Scottish Government and its contractors, but locally we are reliant on councils to keep access clear.
"We have had a terrible start to the winter and it is crucial as we move into months more associated with heavy snow that we are in the best possible position with our transport network."