Card cloners target students

2015-09-30 06:00

CONCERNS about a possible ATM card cloning syndicate have been growing for the past three months among students of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) who reside in the Summerstrand, Humewood and Central areas.

According to the head of the security department at NMMU, Derek Huebsch, there have been repeated incidents of ATM card cloning and swopping over the last three months.

The most recent case is that of an international student who lost R20 000 by means of card cloning.

According to Roslyn Baatjies, spokesperson of NMMU, the money was withdrawn in three different transactions. Two other students were nearly victims, but realised that something was wrong before the thieves could do any further damage.

According to Huebsch, there has also been a 25% increase in contact crimes such as robbery and theft against students in the above mentioned areas.

“Our students fall prey and are targeted as a result of their habitual behaviour.”

The behaviour Huebsch is referring to is that students walk with purses and cellphones in their hands and walk alone at night.

Brig. Ronald Koll, Commander at the Humewood Police station, said the increase in card cloning incidences in the Humewood and Central areas started about six months ago.

“These crooks do their homework extremely well and they go around in the Walmer and Gelvandale areas too.

“Last week we received three cloning incident complaints, and this is the reason why the police are pushing toward a breakthrough. We don’t want more people to get affected,” Koll said.

No arrests have been made this far, but a task team has been established to focus on card cloning.

¦ While the police are investigating the incidents, NMMU management has warned students not to withdraw money from ATMs after banking hours. Students are also advised to walk in large groups at night and to avoid walking alone. Students must in particular be on the lookout for strange messages on ATM screens such as “Provide your account details.”

The police are advising residents to withdraw money at ATMs which are located inside shopping centres, rather than ATMs which are on the outside and are unsupervised

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