There are a number of different methods used by criminals in South Africa to commit this offence but in the majority of cases it involves distraction and confusing the victim as they attempt to use the cash machine. ATM scammers tend to work in a team and their intention is to engage and then attempt to expose the PIN code of the card the victim is using at the cash point.
Whatever method the criminals are using, a hidden camera, a skimming device or card traps, the organised team involved will be near to the ATM and will be watching your transaction. So always pay attention to your surroundings and be alert – look out for loiterers.
How to avoid being scammed at an ATM machine
• If you are suspicious of any cash machine, or the behaviour of anyone near an ATM you should avoid taking any risks. Try and use the same few cash machines to draw cash, this way you’re more likely to spot any fraudulent devices.
• When using the ATM always stand as close as you can, making sure you cover your hand while you enter your PIN. Never allow anyone to stand close to you or attempt to distract you or talk to you while using the cash machine.
• If you have problems with the machine and someone tries to assist, just firmly refuse help and find another location.
• Never force your card into the ATM – if the card is not easily accepted by the device, it may have been tampered with by criminals and never use an ATM if it looks faulty or show evidence of tampering.
• Looking for machines that have security guard on duty could be a good move but be aware that the guy in the high viz jacket could be part of the criminal gang involved in the scamming.
• Once you have withdrawn your money, immediately place it out of sight. Try to also avoid handling cash in public view and secure your wallet and handbag before leaving the ATM.
What to do if you have been involved in a scam (or attempted scam) at an ATM machine
It’s important to never lose sight of the fact that your personal safety is more important than your belongings as they can be replaced.
If you believe you have been involved in a ATM scam or attempted scam you must immediately remove yourself from the location as this offence could escalate into a more serious offence. When appropriate, and as soon as practicable, call the Police and, if necessary, cancel your card with your bank.
In the event of an emergency, dial 112, 911, or in countries where these don’t work, look up the correct emergency phone numbers for ambulance, the fire service or the police in Rescue International’s full list covering all 200 countries.
We are constantly updating the information we provide. If the information you require isn’t in this section or you would like to ask an expert directly, you make a Security Expert Booking 7 days a week. If you have a security emergency and require immediate assistance please call the local emergency services before contacting our security team