Warning about ATM card swapping fraud in South Africa

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) is alerting South Africans about an ATM card fraud method which has become popular among criminals in recent months.

“Transacting at ATMs is quick and convenient, but unfortunately criminals exploit this facility for their own fraudulent purposes,” said SABRIC CEO Kalyani Pillay.

“Criminals use various ways to manipulate and distract ATM users in order to gain access to their bank cards and PINs.”

ATM Card Swapping

SABRIC said the card swapping modus operandi listed below has become widespread in recent months.

While using an ATM, an unknown person will approach the victim to “assist” them.

Their card will be taken out of the ATM by the criminal who presses the cancel button on the pad. It is then swapped without the bank customer realising.

The card swap usually happens before the victim inserts their PIN, which prevents the transaction from taking place due to the swapped card now in the ATM.

During the process of “assisting”, the fraudster is close enough to view the PIN.

The victim will then leave the ATM after the unsuccessful transaction – without their bank card.

At the same time, the criminal walks away with the victim’s card and PIN, which will be used at a nearby ATM.

Criminals also attempt to confuse bank customers, making them more inclined to accept assistance at ATMs.

This is done by:

  • Changing the language on ATM screens so that it looks unfamiliar to a customer.
  • Activating the “cardless function” to change the way the display usually looks.
  • Jamming the card slot or the PIN pad of the ATM to lure a customer to a more remote ATM nearby.

Now read: South African criminal reveals how they steal your bank card at an ATM

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Warning about ATM card swapping fraud in South Africa