A NETWORK of organised thieves is walking into local Northern Rivers businesses and stealing large sums of money.
Gary Fox of Lennox Head knows how the syndicate operates because he was robbed of $1000 at Christmas time.
He said a thief disguised as a delivery person walked into his wife's business and handed over a gift basket. The person asked her to pay a $4.50 delivery fee with a credit card into what looked like an eftpos machine.
However, the device was actually a "skimming machine", Mr Fox said.
"On Boxing Day, I got a call from Citibank MasterCard and they asked if I'd taken a cash withdrawal of $1000 out of an ATM machine.
"I've been a member with Citibank since 1978 and I've never taken out money with that card."
The thieves took $1000 out of a Ballina ATM and then tried to take $400, $200 and $630, but failed.
In December, Mr Fox received a phone call from a person named Sue Jensen, claiming to be from The Christmas Club.
"They say, 'We're accepting your quote and thanks and we're going to send you a Christmas gift, but you'll have to pay the $4.50 delivery fee for it'," Mr Fox said.
The culprits were highly organised and even had a website for The Christmas Club.
When Mr Fox reported the crime at Ballina Police Station, another man was there claiming to have been ripped off by the same scam.
"If anybody paid a courier fee of $4.50 in December, they should look into it, because their account may have been skimmed," Mr Fox said.
Police could not comment as the matter is under investigation.