Consumers urged to look out for ATM scammers

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JOBURG – As the festive season approaches, consumers are urged to remain vigilant and not fall prey to financial scammers.

Standard Bank has issued tips to consumers on how to avoid being a target for scammers during the festive season.

This advice came from Nitesh Patel, head of customer financial solutions and personal banking at Standard Bank, who highlighted the increasing occurrence of ATM theft.

“ATM theft is one of the most prevalent financial crimes that occur at this time [and] while banks work tirelessly during the festive season to ensure that customer accounts remain safe, consumers must remain vigilant,” he stressed.

Patel cautioned residents to remain informed and alert at all times, adding that this was the most effective way to avoid becoming a victim.

He spoke about the three most common methods used by criminals at ATMs to gain access to people’s cards and pin numbers.

“The three most common forms of ATM crime consumers need to be aware of are card swapping, card skimming and vandalism at ATM machines,” he said.

Patel offered tips which could be used to reduce the chances of falling prey to ATM scammers during the festive season, with the most important one being never to reveal your pin number to anyone or to write it down.

He said only enter your pin when prompted by an ATM machine, and cancel the card immediately should it get lost, stolen or retained by the machine.

“ATM users will always be potential targets for criminals. But by arming yourself with the right information and by exercising extra caution in high-risk situations, you can protect yourself from fraud during the holidays and all year round.”

More tips include:

  •  Shield the keypad with your hand when entering your pin into an ATM
  •  Keep your daily cash withdrawal limit to a minimum
  •  Don’t count or expose your money unnecessarily when depositing
  •  Always be on the lookout for criminals and never accept help from strangers, even if they say they are bank employees or security guards. If someone offers to help you, walk away from the ATM
  •  Only use ATMs in well-lit, high traffic areas; if the lights aren’t working, don’t use that machine
  •  Have your bank card ready and in your hand. Opening your wallet or purse can be time-consuming and provides a potential thief with easier access to your valuables.
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