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Avoid Falling Victim To An ATM Scam

Author: Melissa Cohen
Date: 2017-01-28
Card related fraud still costs South Africans R7 billion annually. We look at simple precautions to avoid falling victim to an ATM scam.
Card fraud can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Whether you’re paying for groceries, filling up your car, shopping online, or trying to withdraw money from an ATM, you should always be vigilant. With rampant unemployment in an increasingly materialistic society, more and more are turning to making a career of tricking you out of your hard-earned cash.
CLICK BELOW to read about 5 ways to avoid credit card fraud when shopping online. unnamed-2

Examples Of ATM Scams

Currently, card fraud costs South African consumers R7 million annually. The Banking Association of South Africa says the onus is on bank clients to ensure that they appropriately protect themselves. They report that their member banks upgrade their systems on a continual basis to maximise client safety, when transacting both locally and abroad. Potential threats to the security of your bank accounts can be compromised in various methods both online and off. Scams that affect bank clients include:
  • ATM fraud,
  • Card fraud,
  • Card skimming theft,
  • Cash theft,
  • Scams involving change of banking account details,
  • Identity and personal information fraud,
  • Phishing scams,
  • Point of sale theft, and
  • Vehicle account rescue scams.

Recently Reported ATM Scams

ATMs are continuously being rolled out throughout the country to increase access to basic banking services for clients’ convenience. The growing number of ATM’s and their increased usage have proved breeding grounds for various scams like card skimming, card swopping, ATM shoulder surfing, and card trapping in ATM’s. Last year, a career criminal operating in Daveyton, Johannesburg, disclosed how he makes up to R15 thousand in just four hours. His brand of ATM fraud is mostly card skimming. He steals cards, and pins, and clones credit and cheque cards. The fraudster has made a living, since 2008, stealing money through card-related scams. He says they operate in groups, and are extremently organised. Even to the extent of working out shifts. They also have no biases informing who they target. The South African Police Service issued a warning just last month for individuals to be extra cautious when withdrawing money from ATMs, especially in Johannesburg. This after reports of an ATM scam where one individual would drop what looked like a wad of cash rolled up, close to where someone had just drawn money. Another individual, in on the con, would pick up the cash, and offer to split it with the unsuspecting ATM user. The unsuspecting party would be lured to a more secluded spot, where they would be robbed of their money and possibly other belongings.

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How To Avoid Falling Prey To ATM Fraudsters

The Banking Association of South Africa has issued general guidelines to avoid falling victim to ATM fraud. Among them are the following:
  • Always use ATM’s where you feel comfortable and avoid using the ATM where suspicious-looking individuals are loitering.
  • Have your card ready in your hand before you approach the ATM.
  • Do not use the ATM if it appears to be tampered with or damaged. If you’re not sure, wiggle the card slot to ensure no inconspicuous card skimming machine has been attached.
  • Never accept help from strangers at an ATM, especially after experiencing difficulty with the transaction.
  • Do not allow anyone to distract you.
  • Shield the ATM keypad with your hand to hide your PIN.
  • Never disclose your PIN to anybody, not even to the bank or police. Or family over text messages.
  • Press the Cancel key, withdraw your card, and proceed to an alternative ATM if you feel the ATM is not functioning correctly.
  • Use the help line and/or nearest phone to contact your bank and/or police if your card gets jammed, retained, or lost, or if someone interferes with you at an ATM. If possible, make sure you cancel your card before leaving.
  • Take your time when transacting. Ensure your cash and card are carefully secured in your wallet, handbag, or pocket before leaving the ATM.

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