PayPoint has drawn our attention to yet another scam that reared its ugly head over Christmas.

Here’s how it works. Con artists go into PayPoint outlets to ‘top up’ their rent cards. They try to pay using a credit or debit card, which is rejected, so the guy says he’ll go to a cash machine to get the money, or to his car for his wallet, but never returns.

PayPoint spokesman Peter Brooker writes: “The ‘rent card’ is actually a made-up card with a mag stripe on the back from a cloned Tuxedo pre-paid card. The money is automatically loaded onto the real card and immediately withdrawn from a cash machine.

“The scam is succeeding despite the many warnings we send to our retailers reminding them to take and count the money first before processing a transaction. However, there is another element to the scam. Genuine rent cards are swiped through the PayPoint terminal and the name of the organisation collecting the payment on behalf of the landlord - allpay or Co-op - is shown on the terminal’s screen. Retailers and their staff will be familiar with these names as all council tax and rent payments on the PayPoint terminal are made through one of those two organisations.

“However, when the fake ‘rent card’ is swiped, the name ‘Tuxedo Money’ comes up on screen. Tuxedo money is a prepaid card and when a genuine Tuxedo card is presented, the retailer would normally go through a different process on the terminal, beginning with pressing the ‘e-money’ button.”

PayPoint is pretty frustrated that, despite how often it emphasises how important it is for any retailer with an electronic payment terminal always to take and count the money, these scams are still happening.

Mind you, PayPoint is pretty good at frustrating retailers itself.