[First published on 1 April 2009]
Banks provide us with many things: Current accounts, loans, overdrafts and countless annoying adverts, to name but a few. However, there is also free money to be had from banks – if you know how to go about it.
The Moneymagpies always strive to put the consumer first, and so we have no qualms about publicising loopholes in the banking system that can benefit the banks’ end-user… you! Find out how you could get free cash from your bank…
The process we explain below is often referred to (at least in geeky financial circles!) as ‘latrocination’. It sounds complicated, but it’s actually quite a straightforward method of making money – a simple mix of careful financial planning, geographic research, teamwork and sometimes, mild physical violence. Latrocination has received a fair amount of media coverage recently, although its cause is not helped by the fact that different people call it different things. (In crude layman’s terms, it is sometimes referred to as ‘freebooting’, ‘larceny’, or ‘robbery’).
Step one: Key research
The first thing to do before going for any free money offer is to do your research. We think there are some key titles that will give you a good idea of what you are aiming for.
We don’t want you to be confused, so ease your way in with a comedy. We like Ocean’s Eleven. The key to their success is planning and cunning diversion. There are also lessons to be learnt about the efficacy of clever punch lines.
Another title that could be of relevance is Inside Man. This film takes diversionary tactics to a new level and outlines the importance of disguise.
Bonnie and Clyde is a classic and will show you how to pull off the job with a bit of class.
Make sure you know what not to do by watching Take the Money and Run.
Step two: Plan of action
Let’s be frank – banks don’t trust us. (If they did, they wouldn’t keep their pens chained to the desk).
So if you want to get your hands on your bank’s money (and their pens) you’ll have to do some serious planning. Take a moment to check you have all the essentials covered.
To claim your free money, you will need:
- A bank
- Some accomplices
- Some sharp-looking suits
- Something to disguise your identity*
- A getaway driver
- A getaway vehicle (don’t let the driver forget this)
- Some heavy-duty explosives
- A lawyer on speed dial
- A willingness to risk prison showers for the next 30 years
* e.g. balaclava, hockey mask, giant moustache etc.
You will need to be prepared, but as a Moneymagpie you certainly won’t want to fork out for the essentials. We’ve put together some great bargains to get the job done on the cheap.
- Best buy crow bars[singlepic id=365 w=90 h=70 float=]
You need something sturdy to pull open safe doors. The Just off Base online- tool shop sells two types of bars which will ensure easy access to safes without breaking the bank. For £7.67 you can pick up a 24″ x 5/8″ Sealey bar or you could splash out on the 730mm Wrecking Bar for £11.11. There is also the option to have your bar gift wrapped.
- Knit your own swag bag[singlepic id=368 w=90 h=75 float=left]
There’s a lovely swag bag knitting pattern knittingv.logical in an attractive blue. And another one, though small, has great expansion potential, perfect for that quick cash and stash moment. Make it for free just by following their easy instructions.
The more efficient cash grabber will enjoy the dollar detail that this ‘Money Bag’ offers. Follow these steps to forge a perfect copy.
You may be able to get support from your local knitting group, although it is unwise to discuss what you intend to use the bag for as it may be frowned on by other members of the group. Instead consider passing it off as a washing bag, shoe bag or for something more seasonal, an easter egg sack.
- Spy camera glasses
Before claiming your free cash you will need to work out the best way of accessing the building without drawing attention to yourself. Loitering is usually not appreciated by bank staff and can result in them trying to persuade you to buy insurance. So instead, consider these Spy Camera Glasses, which have a 1.3 megapixel camera in the arm. With the remote control you can execute a speedy recon mission unnoticed.
- Super slim walkie talkies[singlepic id=370 w=90 h=100 float=right]
Once in the vault you may risk losing mobile phone signal. Firstly, do not panic. These super-slim walkie-talkies will allow you to stay in constant contact with your accomplices.
It is essential to maintain correct walkie-talkie etiquette throughout. Consider allocating code names to ensure you can’t be identified should your wave-length be picked up by outsiders. Some easy suggestions are ‘golden eagle’, ‘red fox’ or ‘yellow bear’.
Also it is key to remember to end your conversations with “over” to avoid incomplete messages. Finally, never refer directly to any element of your plan. So instead of saying ‘I’ve just loaded the free money into the getaway car’ consider saying ‘I’ve just finished packing the groceries into the boot.”
- Running shoes
A good pair of running shoes is an essential part of your kit – they could mean the difference between getting away with the free money or not. If you’re feeling the pinch you might want to scrimp a little on your shoes, but we’d advise buying the best you can afford – it’ll be money well spent, particularly if you want to make a career out of claiming free money offers.
The best value trainers are the Adidas Adizero Tempo II which come in sizes 7-12.5 and cost £70.
For those with a slightly bigger budget, the running shoe of choice (according to the editor of Runner’s World) is the Asics Gel Kayano 15. These come in both men’s and women’s sizes and cost £115.
If you do manage to procure your free money, consider putting your running shoes to good use afterwards by becoming a personal trainer.
You may not want others to know that you are claiming free money. They could be jealous and give you angry looks. A simple solution is to disguise yourself when you go to your bank of choice.
- The Balaclava[singlepic id=373 w=90 h=110 float=left]
See whipperlys.co.uk for bargain priced military style balaclavas. You can choose from a range of different styles and colours. Also pick from acrylic, cotton or thinsulate (which will keep you especially warm), and for those with sensitive skin, there’s a fleece option. Our favourite is the black cotton balaclava – it’s a steal at just £2.92.
- The Tights
If you’d rather not wear a balaclava, you could consider tights. After much deliberation the Moneymagpies did conclude that stockings would be easier (less excess material to get in your way). You’ll need some tough stockings, in a flesh colour so they don’t hamper your vision. We’d recommend 15 denier knee highs from Marks & Spencer. You get 5 pairs for £2 so you’ll have spares in case of laddering disasters.
If you’d prefer a disguise instead of covering your face, there are some cheap options available. Try a Mexican Bandit moustache for £2.46. Alternatively you can try a groucho specs which should disguise your natural features sufficiently.
Step three: Claiming the cash
On the day, consider arriving early in the morning to redeem your free cash offer. Increase your chances of success by being confident and assertive. Ask any other customers politely to let you through to the front and do not be distracted by whimpering children, shouts for help or any objections the security guards may have.
You will need to talk to the bank manager. Do not be deterred if his secretary says you have not got an appointment, he is unlikely to be very busy. Simply allow him to pause his game of Tetris and then talk him through the free cash offer and how you would like to redeem it.
It’s possible the bank manager will be unsupportive of your plan of action. Be prepared for this – try showing him your business plan and latest account figures. Have a frank exchange of views and see if you can talk him round. If he remains unconvinced, try giving him a Chinese burn or Dutch rub. If he still refuses to open the bank vault, you may need to give him a wedgie.
NB: Although Moneymagpie normally frowns on the use of violence in financial transactions, it can be an extremely effective way of getting what you want.
However, be aware that taking money from vaults and giving wedgies to bank managers may harm your credit rating. The police also tend to take a dim view of such activity and may chase you. We therefore recommend choosing a bank that’s located away from any police stations. You can find a full list of police stations here.
Step four: The getaway
The key to a successful getaway is a swift exit. For this, you will need a getaway vehicle. This shouldn’t just be any old banger. You need to get yourself the type of car that would make Jeremy Clarkson wet himself with jealousy – and drive it in a manner that makes Lewis Hamilton look like Maureen from Driving School.
So what you need is power, lots of grip, storage space, and enough room to get your band of merry men clean away from any potential pursuers.
[singlepic id=369 w=100 h=90 float=left]The first vehicle that ideally fits into the above description is the Warrior IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle). The Warrior is driven by a Perkins Rolls-Royce V8 Condor engine through a four-speed automatic gearbox, and it is able to carry up to 10 personnel in full battle armour – although with a top speed of just 47mph, it is in effect an armoured milkfloat.
[singlepic id=372 w=100 h=85 float=right]A more practical choice of getaway vehicle was the choice of Robert DeNiro and his gang in the film “Ronin”. The Audi S8 is the car of choice for a swift and safe getaway. The standard car boasts a powerful 4.2 litre V8 Audi engine and uses their legendary quattro four-wheel drive transmission, so it is excellent on cornering.
You can also enjoy the benefits of full leather, which is easier to clean finger prints and DNA from, and an advanced satellite navigation system, to help you avoid the traffic jams.
[singlepic id=367 w=100 h=85 float=left]Better still, follow the example of the Italian Job and get yourself a trio of Mini Coopers. Three vehicles reduce your risk of apprehension by one third and you get to share the driving which cuts down on fatigue. If you do end up being required to spend some time in one of the country’s more secure holiday camps the depreciation levels on a Mini are famously low, so when you get out you will still have retained some of your investment. As long as you didn’t blow the bloody doors off.
Step five: How much can you make?
It’s hard to put a figure on how much you could make from this particular exercise, but the best recorded amount given away for free so far is about £20 million. However, as we always say in our ‘small business’ articles there’s nothing wrong in starting small. Just aim for £50,000 or so in your first foray. You can always work up to the really big numbers later on once you’ve established a good working practice.