ATM scammers target elderly

POLICE have cautioned the public, particularly pensioners, against scammers at local ATM as criminals are known to target patrons at ATMs under the guise of offering assistance.

Police said they were investigating several fraud cases where criminals approached their victims while they were withdrawing money at ATMs.

The criminals interrupt their victims, confuse them and then swap their bank card. Before the ATM user is aware of what has happened, the fraudster quickly visits another ATM to withdraw the victim’s cash.

Another scam circulating involves callers posing as cellular service network providers. They tell the person on the receiving end that someone is trying to do a Sim swap and that they should put their phone off immediately and then switch it on again in a few minutes. When they switch their phone on again, a cash withdrawal from their bank account has been completed without their consent.

Recently a local pensioner was targeted. The 80 year old woman lost R1 000 while withdrawing money at an ATM in Port Shepstone.

According to her friend Janet Bull, the incident occurred after a bystander offered her assistance when the ATM seemingly had an issue.

“She thought her card got stuck and a man who was wearing one of those car guard reflector vests came to “help” her. She cancelled her card but R1 000 had already been withdrawn from another branch,” said Bull.

Police urge the public to pass on information about anyone involved in these types of scams to their local police station or the Crime Stop hotline on 08600 10111.