SAPS warns ATM users

2017-02-16 06:01

POLICE are issuing a stern warning the public to be cautious when withdrawing money from ATMs. This comes after a man was robbed of R3 700 cash outside the bank in Tongaat CBD recently.

According to the information received from Tongaat SAPS, the victim was approached by an unknown man at the ATM and tried to offer him assistance.

Police spokesperson in Tongaat Warrant officer Manisha Maharaj-Marie said: “The victim alleged that he was trying to insert his bank card into the ATM card reader when he was approached by the suspect. The suspect promised to assist him to insert the card in the machine. The victim gave the suspect his bank card and his pin. The suspect then disappeared in the crowd with his bank card. The victim then contacted his bank to alert them about the incident. However, he was informed that R3 700 was already withdrawn from his account. The community is urged to please not accept help from strangers when experiencing problems at the ATMs.”

The South African Banking Risk Information (Sabric) warned ATM users to be on high alert when withdrawing money from the ATM. In a statement sent to the Weekly, Sabric confirmed that there was an existing modus operandi used by suspects when robbing people from the ATMs.

Sabric CEO Kalyani Pillay said in a statement: “Transacting at ATMs is quick and convenient, but unfortunately criminals exploit this facility for their own fraudulent purposes.”

Sabric said while the victim use an ATM, an unknown person will approach the victim and try to “assist” them.

“Their card will be taken out of the ATM by the criminal who presses the cancel button for the card to eject. It is then swopped without the bank customer even realising it. The card swop usually happens before the victim inserts their pin to transact, which prevents the transaction from taking place due to the swopped card being in the ATM. During this process of ‘assisting,’ the fraudster is close enough to view the pin.

“The victim will then leave the ATM after the unsuccessful transaction, either with someone else’s card, which they don’t realise at that point or without their card which was apparently swallowed by the ATM. At the same time the criminal walks away with the victim’s card and pin, which will be utilised almost immediately at another nearby ATM.”

The public is urged to report all cases at the Tongaat SAPS on 032 944 9900. - Supplied.

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