ATM crimes – Plett residents warned to be alert

Residents and visitors to Plettenberg Bay have been warned of an apparent increased occurrence of ATM crimes and ‘card swapping’.

It follows incidents in and around town, as reported in the media recently. A similar warning of ATM crimes has also recently been reported in the popular coastal town of Hermanus.

One popular modus operandi when it comes to card swapping and ATM crimes, explains Fidelity ADT branch manager for Garden Route Pieter Meiring, is for an unknown person to approach the victim and try to “assist” them.

“Their card will be taken out of the ATM by the criminal who presses the cancel button for the card to eject. It is then swapped without the bank customer realising it. Criminals also use other ways of distracting or confusing their intended victim and thus help them in their criminal endeavour,” he says.

“My best piece of advice for residents is to never, under any circumstances accept help from a stranger at an ATM. It is a sad and unfortunate reality that criminals are on the lookout for anyone that appears to be an ‘easy’ target, and they often prey on our general good nature in order to get what they want. If something seems wrong at an ATM, or if it looks like someone has tampered with the ATM, don’t use the machine,” warns Meiring.

As a proactive measure to staying safe, he encourages residents to carry as little as possible in handbags or pockets and rather leave unnecessary bank or store cards and large amounts of cash at home.  He also recommends:

  • If you need to draw money at an ATM, use a machine in a busy, public area
  • Be aware of anyone standing nearby and never accept help from strangers when entering your PIN
  • Put your money in your purse or wallet before you walk away from the ATM
  • If you think someone has followed you from the machine, walk into the nearest shop or up to a mall security guard
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