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ATM fraud and how to prevent it
Senior Member

ATM Fraud.jpgMost South Africans will be taking it easy over the holiday season, but one portion of the population that will be working as hard as ever are ATM scammers.


The festive season ATM scamsis traditionally big business for fraudsters; they know that many have received their yearly bonuses and are distracted by family festivities. Fortunately, preventing ATM scams from happening to you is simple when you know what to look for.


The most common forms of ATM crime:


1. Card swapping:

Criminals distract you while you are entering your PIN and then swap your card. This is done so quickly that very often you are unaware that you no longer have your own card.


2. Card skimming:

This typically involves tampering with an ATM by placing an additional card reader over the ATM’s. In conjunction with a hidden camera, the fraudsters steal your card details and PIN number.


3. Vandalism:

ATMs are vandalised for two reasons:

  • To force you to use ATMs in poorly lit, quiet areas where it is easier to commit crime.
  • To trap your card in the ATM's card reader, giving you the impression that the machine has ‘swallowed’ your card.


Now that you can spot the crime, use the following five tips to keep your cash safe this holiday season:


  1. Shield the keypad with your hand when entering your PIN into an ATM, and only enter your PIN when prompted by the ATM.
  2. Keep your withdrawal limit to the minimum.
  3. Never accept help from strangers, even if they say they are bank employees.
  4. Only use ATMs in well-lit, high-traffic areas. If the lights aren't working, don't use that machine.
  5. Make sure the card you get back from the ATM is yours. If it’s not, call your bank to cancel your card.

 For more safety related information, or info on how to report fraud, go to