A Bryanston resident who was almost hoodwinked by two men she described as “well-dressed” at an ATM would like to warn the community so they do not become a victim, Sandton Chronicle reports.
Brenda Butler, who turns 80 this year, spoke about what happened when she was withdrawing money at an ATM on a corner of a shopping centre.
“I was looking around, and I am always aware of what is going on around me.”
As she turned around and put her money away, she heard the voice of a man who said she had made a mistake and that he should help her.
“I got quite a fright, and didn’t expect anyone. He said: ‘Don’t worry, I just want to help you because you made a mistake.’”
The man said there was a new system where you had to log out of your account after your transaction. “He said he would show me, and that I should put my card back into the machine.
“As he was talking, I saw him put his hand next to the slot and saw him push a card towards it.” Butler said she was already suspicious, and told the man she knew he was up to no good and that she saw him put the card into the slot.
“After that, I immediately left. The men apparently ran towards a garage.” Butler believes that they target elderly people, and warned the community to remain vigilant when using ATMs.
Captain Granville Meyer, spokesperson for Sandton Police Station, said: “Because of the variety of ATMs, the unique characteristics of each installation, and crime considerations at each location, no single formula can guarantee the security of ATM customers.”
He said that customers should consider their environments at each ATM. “Follow your instincts. If you feel you are in danger, respond immediately. Remember that your personal safety is the first priority.”
Meyer said criminals select their victims and targets, focusing on the unaware or unprepared.
Meyer provided some tips to reduce your risk of becoming a victim:
- Walk purposefully and with confidence.
- Give the appearance that you are totally aware of your surroundings
- Be aware of your total environment and what is going on around you.
“Criminals tend to avoid people who have this type of demeanour,” ended Meyer.