Trichardt Toll Plaza card skimmer sentenced to 4 years in prison

(iStock)
(iStock)

A man accused of unlawfully using a skimming device to rip off unsuspecting motorists of more than R40 000 at the Trichardt Toll Plaza in Mpumalanga was convicted and sentenced in the Evander Regional Court on Tuesday.

Gegama Simon Mahlangu, 25, was sentenced to a four-year prison term for various accounts of fraud, the Hawks said on Friday.

"In the course of 2017, Mahlangu was working as a toll operator and he illegally skimmed bank cards of passing motorists when they were making payments," Hawks spokesperson Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi said.

"Later that year, complaints were received from the bank regarding clients that had lost money through strange transactions."

The Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Unit took up the case, and Mahlangu was arrested in a sting operation after he was found at work in possession of a skimming device.

Mahlangu faced 124 counts of illegally collecting data from bank cards using the said device.

Card skimming usually involves a hand-held device to collect data from the magnetic strip of a credit, debit or any bank card.

This information is copied onto a blank magnetic strip. From then on, a person in possession of this cloned card is able to make purchases or withdraw cash in the name of the actual account holder.

Major General Zodwa Mokoena, provincial head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation in Mpumalanga, welcomed the sentence.

"We hope this serves as a deterrent to criminals. Patrons are urged to make it difficult for occurrences of card skimming to take place by being vigilant at all times. Always keep an eye on your bank statements for unauthorised transactions, and report these immediately," she said. 

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