‘Well-dressed’ ATM syndicate: Witnesses come forward

2016-03-18 09:11
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Banking customers should be vigilant and report fraudulent transactions on accounts. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Fin24 users have come forward with their experiences of witnessing ATM fraud committed by a new syndicate that is targeting international tourists in SA.

Fin24 reported on Thursday about smartly dressed, well-spoken fraudsters lurking around Cape Town ATMs and scamming international tourists out of thousands of rands in a complex syndicate.

READ: 'Well-dressed' ATM crooks target CPT tourists

The Cape Town Central Improvement District (CCID) has issued a warning about the ATM syndicate as weel.

CCID says the syndicate operates in a group of between four to six fraudsters and their modus operandi includes dropping high-value cash notes on the floor to distract tourists.

The fraudsters then also speed off in rental cars after committing the theft, according to the CCID.

The fraudsters are also committing this crime on a daily basis in the city, said the organisation.

Subsequently, more Fin24 users have come forward with their stories of this syndicate.

Fin24 user anonymous wrote:

“I have seen crimes committed at the ATMs in Matador Centre Long Street. I believe that they park outside while operating their scam. which I hear is every day.”

Fin24 user Francois wrote:

“Yes, guests of mine from Belgium were robbed in this fashion in early February at the Route 44 market ATM in Stellenbosch. They tried to cancel the card immediately by phone but two withdrawals of R5 000 had already been made. There were five or six well spoken people that surrounded them and one of them stole the card, while the other watched them type in the PIN. The case is at Stellenbosch station but apparently is not being investigated further.”

Fin24 user Kathrin wrote:

“I know of two similar crimes that happened to German tourists in Plettenberg Bay, the past few weeks. Also well-dressed, well-spoken, helpful men. The one couple managed to cancel their transaction at the ATM at the Melville Centre, when a man approached them trying to help/interfere because the situation seemed suspicious to them. They decided to use another ATM at the Market Square, where they were approached by another well-dressed man also offering to help…And an elderly lady was robbed of 2 500 euros, even though her daily limit at her bank in Germany was only 500 euros. She was apparently refunded the 2000 euros.”

Fin24 user Ian wrote that a similar modus operandi has been in place for a number of years in Johannesburg:

“About four years ago a colleague from Saudi Arabia had his credit card account cleaned out in a very similar operation at OR Tambo. He only knew of this when his phone pinged until his account was denuded about thirty minutes later. He went back to the Airport to report the details to the police who informed him that they knew who the thieves were and even had their IDs. However, because tourists leave, they haven’t being able to prosecute the gang. My colleagues promised to return to South Africa at his expense to give evidence. He never heard about the issue since. Hmmm.”

Read more about: syndicate  |  atm