Police warn residents to be on the lookout for ATM scammers
Graaff-reinet SAPS have issued a series of safety tips for using ATMS, particularly for withdrawing cash.
Although most of these should be common sense, with the inevitable increase in crime over the busy festive season, they serve as an important reminder to all to be vigilant.
The first recommendation is to avoid isolated ATMS, and do not use any ATM late at night. Those withdrawing cash should always try to select an ATM in a well-lit, busy area, and preferably do not withdraw money when alone. This is especially relevant for women, and the elderly, who are more vulnerable. SAPS recommends that anyone who feels unsafe at an ATM for any reason, particularly if there are people loitering about, should leave and go to another ATM.
It is also important to NEVER accept help from a stranger when using an ATM. Further, never let a stranger even touch the card, as he or she might already have seen your pin and be trying to switch cards. To this end, users should make sure that no-one is looking over their shoulder when entering the PIN.
A tip that was circulated widely on social media recently is to always press cancel twice before putting a card in the slot. In reference to this, a representative from SAPS told the Advertiser that there is no reason for doing this twice, but it is good practice to press cancel to make sure there are no other cards in the slot, either left accidentally or placed there to try to clone a card. There was also a reminder to never force a card into the card slot, and a customer should also check that it is their own card that is ejected from the machine after the transaction.
If a card is retained by the ATM, it is imperative to call the card stop number displayed at the machine immediately. Be suspicious of anyone offering to help, and do not move away from the machine until contact has been made with the bank, and a reference number is given.
People are also warned not to count cash in front of the ATM or while walking, or even when sitting in an unlocked vehicle. Those withdrawing money should be watchful of people following them afterward, and be on the lookout for people “accidentally” bumping into them or offering help, as they may be trying to steal the cash from a pocket or handbag. Anyone who suspects that they might b being followed should head to the nearest public area as soon as possible, or go into an established shop.
It is important to keep the PIN secret, and not have it written down in the same place as the card is kept. To make it more difficult for potential thieves, bank cards should not be kept together with an ID, passport or driver’s licence.
If a customer has any suspicion that their PIN might be known to anyone else, the PIN should be changed immediately, or, if this is not possible, the card should be cancelled and a new one ordered.
Finally, ATM users are advised to keep the amount of cash withdrawn to a minimum where possible. Some banks give customers an option to set a daily limit, which is a protection in the unfortunate event of the card being used by someone who has found out the PIN fraudulently.