ATM users warned: card swoppers are back

2017-02-16 06:01

Users of local auto teller machines (ATMs) are once again warned not to draw money if there are loiterers or suspicious people in the vicinity or if they think the machine is faulty.

Owing to the high incidence of ATM card fraud, the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) would like to alert bank customers to an existing modus operandi, which has become prevalent again, to ensure that they are empowered to protect themselves and to prevent them from falling victim to criminals.

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

“Criminals use various ways to manipulate and distract ATM users in order to gain access to their bankcards and PINs, and of course, ultimately, steal their money.”

Criminals use various modus operandi to commit this kind of fraud, so it is imperative that bank customers be aware and take the necessary protective measures.

Card swopping modus operandi

While using an ATM, an unknown person will approach the victims and try to “assist” them. Their cards will be taken out of the ATM by the criminal who presses the cancel button for the cards to eject.

Cards are then swopped without the bank customers even realising it. The card swop usually happens before the victims insert their PINs to transact, which prevents the transactions from taking place owing to the swopped cards being in the ATM.

During this process of “assisting”, the fraudster is close enough to view the PIN. The victims will then leave the ATM after the unsuccessful transaction, either with someone else’s cards, which they don’t realise at that point or without their card which were 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. By the time the victims realise what has happened, and arranges to cancel the card, their money has already been withdrawn.

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