A local resident faced an alarming situation at one of Makhanda’s (Grahamstown) public ATM facilities this past Sunday, 9 June. The resident warned others of potential scam artists using an “unusual screen” on the ATM to compromise pin numbers and banking details. Police Spokesperson Captain Khaya Tonjeni encouraged residents to consider alternatives to using public ATMs.
The resident stated that the suspected scammers looked at first like normal ATM users before trying to interact with her while she was making a transaction.
Noticing her having trouble with the ATM, one of the men took her bank card from her and inserted it into the machine. Suspecting something fishy, the resident intentionally entered the wrong PIN number and noticed that the digits were displayed on the screen. She immediately cancelled the transaction but her card was not returned. The resident alerted her bank shortly after to cancel the card.
The resident told Grocott’s Mail that security attended to her after the incident and told her that the suspected scammers had left the shopping centre quickly by car, using the centre’s entrance as an exit.
“The golden rule is for people to eliminate opportunity that could cause any criminal activity,” said Tonjeni.
“In order to avoid being a victim of cash robberies, consider options that are lower risk,” Tonjeni said. “Instead of withdrawing large sums of cash, consider carrying little cash as possible. Consider using cellphone banking or internet transfers to do your banking.”
Grocott’s Mail has approached the shopping centre management for more information and will report further when that information becomes available. The company is now aware of the details of the incident and will be investigating.
Residents who experience any suspicious activity at ATMs should report the matter to security at the facility and the police immediately.