A STERN warning is being issued to members of the community to be on high alert during the festive season when withdrawing cash from banks and ATMs. According to SAPS, during this time unsuspecting members of the community often fall prey to criminals targeting bank clients.Greytown SAPS Station Commander Colonel Nkosithule Mvundla warned residents to refrain from carrying large amounts of cash during the festive season. Mvundla also warned residents that will be withdrawing cash from the ATM to refrain from approaching unauthorised people to assist them at the ATM or bank.In an exclusive interview with the Greytown Gazette, Mvundla said criminals are using various techniques when defrauding people. He said recent investigations revealed that criminals use pinhole cameras in ATMs, fake fronts, wider card slots than normal, loose PIN pads, and loose or blocked card slots to clone bank cards. “In most cases when the ATM is bugged with a device that captures confidential information of the [bank client], it is impossible for the unsuspecting client to notice.“We urge residents to take precautionary measures this festive season. Residents should be vigilant when using ATMs. Criminals insert a [skimming device] wire inside an ATM card slot.It is made to be affixed into the mouth of an ATM and swipes the information of the bank clients when they insert cards into the machine,” he said. SAPS Greytown also discovered that card skimmers insert a concealed camera at an ATM facing the pin pad so that it can capture a pin code when the client types in their pin on the pin pad.Mvundla said: “The first step that clients should take when approaching an ATM is to press the cancel button before putting in a pin. In that vein, this would interrupt the device that card skimmers have inserted into the machine. “We always encourage bank clients to hide their pin when they enter it on the pin pad. This would minimise the chances of concealed cameras placed above the screen of an ATM swiping the confidential information. “When the card is retained by the machine, cancel and report it immediately to your branch and ask them to block it.“It is also advisable for residents to alert the police should they see suspicious characters at an ATM,” he said. SAFETY TIPS: ATM Card Swopping• If you think an ATM is faulty, cancel your transaction immediately, report the fault to your bank and transact at another ATM.• Avoid ATMs that are dimly lit or surrounded by loiterers, and never allow your children to draw money using your card since they’re the most vulnerable to perpetrators.• Only punch in your pin once prompted by the ATM. • Report suspicious items or people around ATMs to the bank.• Be alert to your surroundings. Do not use the ATM if there are loiterers or suspicious people in the vicinity. • If you are disturbed or interfered with while transacting at the ATM, your card may be skimmed, by being removed and replaced back into the ATM without your knowledge. Cancel the transaction immediately and report the incident using your bank’s stop card toll free number that is displayed on all ATMs, as well as on the back of your bank card.• Know what your ATM looks like so that you are able to identify any foreign objects attached to it.• Do not ask anyone to assist you at the ATM, not even the security personnel guarding the ATM or a bank official. Rather go inside the bank for help.• Never force your card into a slot as it might have been tampered with.• Do not insert your card into an ATM if the screen layout is not familiar to you and it looks like the machine has been tampered with.• Some fraudsters wait until you’ve drawn your cash to take advantage. Be wary of people loitering around the ATM and ensure that you are not followed.• Set a daily withdrawal limit that suits your needs (the default amount is set at R1 000), to protect yourself in the event that your card and pin are compromised.Online Shopping• When registering on an e-commerce website always choose a strong password or, even better, a passphrase and never save these on any computer or mobile device.• Check your bank balance after making any shopping payment and report any fraudulent transactions to your bank immediately.• Again, register for 3D Secure to secure your card details.Tips for Individuals• Consider the convenience of paying your accounts electronically (consult your bank to find out about other available options).• Consider making use of cell phone banking or internet transfers or ATMs to do your banking.Tips for businesses and stokvels• Avoid carrying moneybags, briefcases or openly displaying your deposit receipt book. • A stokvel savings club or burial society can arrange for members to deposit cash directly into the club’s account instead of collecting cash contributions. You can also arrange for the club’s payout to be electronically transferred into each club member’s personal account or accounts of their choice.• Take another person with when going to deposit club cash contributions.