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Common ATM scams and how to protect yourself – Welkom Community Policing Forum

Safety is the buzzword of our times. We sanitise our hands, wear a mask, and social distance to keep Covid at bay. But safety is just as important when it comes to your money. Protecting it means we should all be on high alert, especially when we use ATMs. Criminals are clever. This article will help you to stay one step ahead.

Types of ATM scams

Criminals use different methods to commit ATM crimes. Sometimes you may not even know you have been a victim until you check your bank account.

  • Card swapping
    Card swapping involves the criminal distracting you while you enter your PIN. They then physically replace your card with a fake one or take your card. It happens so quickly, you don’t even notice that your card has been swapped.
  • Card skimming
    This method is a little more intricate. A skimmer or card reader is placed over the ATM’s legitimate card reader. By doing this, criminals can record your pin codes and information, which they use to produce counterfeit cards. Another method is to place a hidden camera pointed at the keypad so that fraudsters can see your PIN.

How to stay safe

  1. Protect your PIN
    Don’t write it down or save it on your phone. Rather memorise it. 
  1. Manage your daily limits
    Set a limit on your daily withdrawal amount. You can do this online or on your Bank App. 
  1. Don’t accept help from strangers
    If the ATM is close to your bank’s branch, go into the branch and ask for help there.
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  1. Stand close to the ATM
    When using the ATM to withdraw or deposit cash, make sure that you stand as close as possible to the terminal and shield the keypad from view so that strangers cannot see your password. If it looks as if the ATM has been tampered with, rather go somewhere else.

  2. Cancel your card if you are a victim of ATM fraud.
    If your card is stolen, get in touch with your bank immediately to cancel the card before fraudsters can access your funds.

It’s time to take back control

This article was written to make you aware of the methods used by criminals to scam innocent people. It is not our intention to frighten you. Rather, we feel you will be better able to protect yourself using the information we have given you. However, if you are a victim of ATM fraud, contact the authorities and your bank immediately.

Original Article – Content published for Welkom Community Policing Forum

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