New ATM scam in the east

Mamelodi police spokesperson, Captain Johannes Maheso.

Bank customers have been warned of a new distraction scam in which they may lose their hard earned cash if not alert.

The scam involves robbers leaving items at an ATM, and returning to fetch them only to distract the user, police warned.

Mamelodi police received a complaint of a resident who was recently robbed at one of the ATMs at a shopping centre.

Police spokesperson Captain Johannes Maheso said the scam was reported at month-end when the victim was robbed of his hard earned money.

“The victim was in the queue in the morning about to withdraw money at one of the ATMs. He was standing behind a well-dressed man believed to be the suspect.”

According to the information police received, the victim apparently informed the man that he had left his cellphone at the ATM.

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“When he took his cellphone, the unsuspecting victim was struggling to insert his card into the machine and the suspect offered to assist him,” said Maheso.

“He forced the card into the ATM. The man told him to key in the PIN and told him that the ATM regularly did this.

“The victim punched in his PIN and the man quickly left. The ATM indicated that he had entered a wrong code and swallowed his card,” Maheso said.

By the time the victim went inside the bank to block the card, an amount of R3 000 had been withdrawn from his account and another R2 000 was withdrawn a few minutes later at a nearby filling station.

“The police would like to warn the community members to be on the lookout for suspicious people. They leave their valuable items at the ATM to fool the unsuspecting victims,” Maheso said.

“Most of the victims said they do not know how the suspects got hold of their secret PINs.

“But we will investigate this,” he said.

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Maheso said there will be more police visibility at the malls during the festive season.

Police gave the following tips for ATM users:

– Avoid isolated ATMs.

– Never ask for assistance from bystanders unless they work at the bank or is a security guard.

– Don’t share your details with anyone.

– If you struggle to insert your ATM card leave immediately and look for another machine to avoid being the next victim.

– Try to identify the attacker, his friends or car registration number.

 

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  AUTHOR
Stephen Selaluke
Mamelodi journalist

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