ATM users warned after spate of card-skimming incidents

2014-09-30 00:00

POLICE have warned Howick residents that ATM fraud in the CBD and at shopping centres there is rife.

Police spokesperson Captain Lolly Moodley said the scamsters use X-ray film to help them access unsuspecting ATM users’ cards before withdrawing money from their accounts.

Moodley said recently there have been numerous incidents where residents have fallen victim to the card-skimming syndicates.

The hackers use a trap made of X-ray film, because it is black and similar in appearance to the slot on the card reader.

The trap is then inserted into the ATM slot.

He said the criminals take care not to insert the entire film into the slot as the ends are folded and contain glue for better adhesion to the inner and outer surface of the slot.

Once the ends are firmly glued and fixed to the slot, it is impossible for unsuspecting ATM users to detect. The perpetrators cut slits into both sides of the trap to prevent the card being returned prior to the transaction being completed.

As soon as the customer has gone and they have your pin, the thieves remove the glued trap by grasping the folded tips and simply pulling the strap out to get the bank card.

Moodley said that at least two incidents are taking place a week in Howick.

Moodley warned people to be extra cautious and check the card slot of the ATM to ensure there is nothing strange attached to it.

“People should always be aware of their surroundings and must never allow any stranger to assist them. Suspects often stand behind you and pretend to assist you, but in actual fact they are trying to see your pin number.”

He said suspects normally operate in pairs where one distracts the customer whilst the other removes your card from the ATM.

• khanyisani.dlomo@witness.co.za

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