Petition to make ATM use safe

2019-03-11 16:45
ATM scams are becoming more and more popular.

ATM scams are becoming more and more popular. (File)

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Locals have had enough of the constant robberies and fraud at ATMs, and have set up a petition to lobby banks to tighten security.

A petition launched this week on international website Change.org has about 150 signatures, with those behind the move hoping for at least 100 000 signatures before submitting it to all major banks.

The petition is addressed to the banks from concerned residents from Durban and along the Midlands asking for “more stringent measures” to be taken to ensure ATMs are monitored to avoid customers falling victim to robberies, scams and card cloning.

Local man Ahmed Jooma, one of the people driving the initiative, said the petition route was necessary because few people were willing to speak out about the issue.

“All South Africans know about how at ATMs they are watched by people, they can be robbed there and it is unsafe. Sometimes we hear of elderly people getting their pension stolen after drawing it out at an ATM,” Jooma, of the Helping Humanity Foundation, said.

He said there were regular reports of crime at ATMs circulated on social media crime groups.

“We need banks to take the precaution to safeguard the lives of patrons. People on the ground are experiencing crime often, and banks need to come to the party.”

Jooma added that the petition had already been signed by people from as far away as the UK.

He said the change they hope for would be secure cubicles for ATM units, surveillance and stronger security.

“Crime is a big issue and every bank should have considered increasing security by now. Poor people sometimes have a lot of their money stolen. This kind of crime affects everyone regardless; even those at the top get scammed or have their cards cloned.”

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) said ATM card theft was “very prevalent”, adding that ATMs’ convenience created opportunities for criminal activity like card theft.

Sabric CEO Kalyani Pillay said another technique was “shoulder surfing” and trapping cards inside ATMs to “steal card data or actual cards. These cards are then utilised to withdraw money fraudulently at ATMs and to then make purchases nearby”.

She added, however, that banks were doing everything they could to ensure clients were safe.

“However, criminals are masters of manipulation and resort to social engineering to defraud victims as they know that the human element is the weakest link.

“This is why we always tell bank clients not to accept any assistance at ATMs when transacting, even if they appear to be a bank official or security guard.

“We advise people to cancel the transaction immediately and report the incident using their banks’ ‘stop card’ [function].”


Read more on:    atm safety
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