Pedestrians are often targeted by criminals, especially when these criminals are aware of any large amounts of cash that pedestrians may be carrying. In this section, we would like to share advice on how pedestrians can better protect themselves from cash robberies, theft and scams.
Carrying Cash Safely
If you need to pay accounts, consider options that are lower risk instead of withdrawing large sums of cash.
Apply the following TIPS to avoid being a victim:
- Carry as little cash as possible
- Consider the convenience of paying your accounts electronically (consult your bank to find out about other available options)
- Consider making use of cell phone banking or internet transfers or ATMs to do your banking
- A small business that is cash-based and needs to deposit money on a regular basis at the bank should apply the following TIPS which will minimize the chances of you being a victim of robberies:
- Alternate the days and times on which you deposit cash
- Never make your bank visits public, even to people close to you
- Do not openly display the money you are depositing while you are standing in the bank queue
- Avoid carrying money bags, briefcases or openly displaying your deposit receipt book
- It is advisable to identify another branch nearby that you can visit to ensure that your banking pattern is not easily recognisable or detected.
- If the amount of cash you are regularly depositing is increasing as your business grows, consider using the services of a cash management company.
- Refrain from giving wages to your contract or casual labourers in full view of the public rather make use of wage accounts that can be provided by your bank.
- Refrain from driving to the bank in your company branded vehicle on a typical ‘pay day’.
- Consider arranging for electronic transfers of wages to your contract or casual labourers’ personal bank accounts.
Advice for Members of Savings Clubs and Stokvels
If you are a member of a cash savings club, advise members of your club of the following TIPS that will assist your club from being victim to cash robberies:
- Refrain from making cash deposits of club members’ contributions on high-risk days (e.g. Monday after month end).
- Ensure persons depositing club cash contributions or making withdrawals are accompanied by another club member.
- A stokvel, savings club or burial society can arrange for members to deposit cash directly into the club’s account instead of collecting cash contributions.
- Arrange for the club’s pay-out to be electronically transferred into each club member’s personal account or accounts of their choice.
Safety with Cash at the ATM / Avoid getting scammed at the ATM
Advice from SAPS on safety with cash at the ATM:
- Be alert and conscious of your surroundings when using the ATM.
- Never give your card or PIN (Personal Identification Number) to anyone, for any reason.
- Avoid ATMs that are dimly lit or surrounded by loiterers, and never allow your children to draw money using your card, since they are the most vulnerable to perpetrators.
- Dont write your PIN on the card or anything that is kept with the card.
- Do not insert your card until asked to do so by the display screen.
- Never use an ATM with a blank screen and, if the ATM is obscured from view or poorly lit, leave immediately and find another ATM.
- Stand close to the ATM and use your body and hand as shield to make sure nobody sees you keying in your pin.
- Also, make sure you keep your hand over the card slot to make sure nobody can swop or take your card.
- Never accept help from strangers when using an ATM. You should be wary of strangers asking for help.
- Take note that fraudsters are often well dressed, well-spoken and respectable looking individuals
- Criminals work in teams- one to distract you while the other steals your card or money.
- If you are disturbed or interfered with whilst transacting at the ATM, your card may be skimmed by being removed and replaced back into the ATM without your knowledge.
- If your card is retained (swallowed) by the ATM it is advisable to phone your bank toll free stop card line immediately and stop your card.
- Never force your card into the slot as it might have been tampered with.
- Do not insert your card if the screen layout is not familiar to you and it looks like the machine has been tampered with.
- Do not use ATMs where the card slot, keypad or screen has been tampered with – it could be an attempt to get hold of your card.
- If you think the ATM is fault, cancel the transaction immediately, report the fault to your bank and transact at another ATM.
- Never allow a bystander to call the toll-free stop card line on your behalf- they could be tricking you into thinking your card has been stopped.
- Guards are placed at ATMs to discourage criminal activities and therefore cannot help you with transactions.
- If you need help, ask a bank official.
- It is advisable to set a daily ATM withdrawal limit at your branch.
- Some fraudsters wait until you have drawn your cash to take advantage – Be wary of people loitering around the ATM and ensure that you are not followed.
Safety from explosions at the ATM
Explosions at Automated Tellers Machines (ATMs) are a new crime that reared its ugly head.
When approaching the ATM and it has been damaged, report to 10111 immediately in the following cases:
- If an ATM has been damaged or if any unknown items protrude from it.
- If smoke or flames are visible at or in the machine as this is a sure sign of a pending explosion. (Also move away from the ATM immediately)
- In case of suspicious activity/persons at or near an ATM
- Once the charges have been activated there is nothing that can be done to deactivate the explosives.
- Shrapnel and debris from an explosion can travel for several hundred metres.
- People must be moved away as far as possible and take cover behind something solid, such as a building.