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ATM users beware

The festive season is usually a time when people rush to do last minute shopping, but is also the time when consumers are most susceptible to banking scammers. According to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) CEO Kalyani Pillay, most people tended to be less cautious during this time, particularly when it came to drawing money from an ATM. She said old scamming methods like the jamming of ATM machines and then offering assistance were returning.

“A lot of people are using ATM’s to withdraw money, and the perpetrators and criminals take advantage of these opportunities. We’ve seen an old modus operandi return, where people are offered assistance at the ATM’s. This is where they put devices into the machine that actually trap or jams the card, and they loiter around the machines and offer assistance. In that instance when the person is putting in their pin number, they are close enough to see the number. This is called shoulder surfing,” she explained.

Pillay said people needed to be aware that if their card was jammed or stuck in the machine, they should not leave the ATM before making a call to their bank. She advised all ATM users to always keep the number of the bank call centre on their phones in case of emergencies, so they could report the issue and have the card stopped.

“One of the things we’ve been saying for years now is to cover the keypad of the ATM with the hand that you are not using, and then put the pin number into the machine.  This is because if there is any hidden camera, by covering the keypad they won’t be able to see your pin,” she said.

She advised people to use ATM’s they were familiar with and were fairly busy, and to also report any devices on the machine that looked suspicious, to their bank. Pillay said there were also precautions to be aware of when making payments with their card.

“Always make sure you watch the transaction being conducted. Make sure you watch when the card is actually being swiped, and that it is being swiped in the payment device and not anything else. Also when you are inserting you pin number into a point of sale device, don’t hesitate to cover up the keypad,” she said.

In terms of internet banking and online transactions, she said it was all too common to see people giving up their details to different online sites.

“If you are doing an online transaction or buying something online, make sure the site you are buying from is a safe sight. Look out for signs like the HTTPS at the top of the URL, or for a lock sign on the website. You should also make sure you keep your details, passwords, pin codes and banking card number in a safe place,” she said.

Pillay said people needed to be more vigilant to these scams and advised them to be mindful who they provided their details to.

“Know that its criminals that are forcing us to behave like this,” she said. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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