‘Be vigilant at ATMs’

2018-06-19 06:00

The Lansdowne Community Policing Forum (CPF) warns there has been a sudden increase in “bank followings” in the Lansdowne area, following the month of Ramadan and the celebration of Eid.

Residents of ward 60 are urged to be vigilant when using ATMs.

“Ramadan is a period when many Muslim residents are seen going to ATMs to draw money for charity purposes – the same with Christmas and other religious events. People know that you will be drawing large amounts of money, and are on standby to rob you,” says Rafique Foflonker, Lansdowne CPF chairperson.

“There has been a sudden increase in bank following where people are being followed home or to their vehicles after using ATMs. The suspects either follow you by foot or by vehicle, with the intention of robbing you of your cash.

“We want the community to be vigilant, especially during this period and the next few weeks when people will still be handing out charity.”

Foflonker gives simple steps provided by the police and the CPF for locals on their next visit to the ATM.

“We need residents to observe their surroundings all the time and to stop a few metres away from the ATM before using it to see if there are any ‘sketchy’ people nearby. Look who is following you or staring at you, and remember their face in case you might bump into them after using the ATM.

“Before using the ATM, know where you are going to hide your money. Do not expose your money in big envelopes or bags as this draws attention from possible suspects watching you. Rather roll it up as small as possible and place it in your clothing, attached to you. If you are going to draw a large amount of money, we suggest you do not use the ATM, but rather go inside a mall or bank where it is safe and secure. And when you leave, ensure the space is clear from anyone following you to your home or vehicle.

“When you approach your car, always check who’s in or around your car, and once it’s clear, start up and move away as quickly as possible. Check the rear mirrors to see if you are being followed and if you suspect you are, we suggest you contact the police immediately. These incidents are happening daily and the innocent are being affected,” adds Foflonker.

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