The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) has released its latest information on cash robberies, which showed a year-on-year decrease of 23%.
This decrease, said Sabric CEO Kalyani Pillay, is partly thanks to bank clients who have decided to heed the call to not carry large sums of cash around.
While cash robberies are declining, they are still prevalent – with some of these crimes resulting in death.
Sabric said that mitigation efforts from law enforcement and the industry are being implemented to continue to address this scourge.
What to look out for to avoid becoming a victim
Sabric provided guidelines on what to be on the lookout for when it comes to potential cash robberies.
Spotting – where criminals observe bank clients while transacting inside the bank and then follow them home or to their business – this remains a problem.
The Money Bomb Scam is another big problem. Here the criminal drops a roll of paper, covered with an official bank note to attract the attention of an identified target.
The target in most cases is a bank client who has just made a large cash withdrawal from the bank.
Once the client attempts to pick up the cash, a co-perpetrator would also claim the cash and suggest they share it.
The sharing of the cash usually occurs at a location away from the bank where the bank clients is then robbed of the cash that he or she just withdrew.
Alternatively, a co-perpetrator impersonating a police official would confront both client and accomplice, claiming to investigate the circumstances surrounding the cash.
Both the client and accomplice would be placed under arrest and informed that they would be taken to a police station. However, they are all taken to a secluded area where the bank client is robbed of the cash withdrawn from the bank.
“To avoid these robberies and the risk of loss of life, we urge bank clients to rather consider using alternative banking methods, such as Internet and cellphone banking,” said Pillay.
Tips to avoid becoming a victim of cash robberies
- If you need to pay accounts, consider options that are lower risk instead of withdrawing large sums of cash.
- Carry as little cash as possible on you.
- Consider the convenience of paying your accounts electronically.
- Consider making use of cellphone banking or Internet transfers, or ATMS to do your banking.
Tips to avoid becoming a victim of business cash robberies
A small business which is cash-based should apply the following tips:
- 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 you that you can visit to ensure that your banking pattern is not easily identifiable.
- 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 at your bank.
- Consider arranging for electronic transfers of wages to contract or casual labourers’ accounts.