WARNING: Be on the look out for these ATM scams

By Lauren Klaasen
13 February 2017

ATM fraud is on the rise.

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) has urged consumers to take caution when withdrawing money from an ATM after a noted increase in ATM fraud.

"Transacting at ATMs is quick and convenient, but unfortunately criminals exploit this facility for their own fraudulent purposes," says SABRIC CEO Kalyani Pillay,

Read more: This is why you can’t be too careful when using an ATM

Card swopping is a method used by fraudsters to intercept a customer’s withdrawal process by “providing assistance”. The customer’s card is removed by the criminal via the cancel button and swopped during this time of assistance by means of distraction.

The criminal then remains within a close enough radius to see the customer enter their pin. It may appear to the customer that their “card” has been swallowed and continues to experience withdrawal problems at the ATM.

The criminal will then disappear, returning to withdraw money from the customer’s account shortly afterwards.

"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,” said Pillay.

Methods of distractions used by criminals include changing the language on the ATM screen, enabling the “cardless function” to disturb the customer’s user-experience and immobilising card slots or pin pads.

ATM-users are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings when approaching an ATM facility.

If an ATM that appears faulty, it is wiser to cancel the transaction immediately.

Customers are urged to remain vigilant of their surroundings when approaching at ATM and be aware of strangers offering their services as an aid of distraction.

If any suspicious activity is spotted, ATM users should report this to the toll free numbers displayed on the ATM or to the bank itself.

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