In a crime described as the first of its kind to be recorded in Mpumalanga, the Hawks have arrested a tollgate official who was caught allegedly skimming a motorist’s card.
On Wednesday, Hawks Serious Commercial Crime Investigation provincial spokesperson Lieutenant Dineo Sekgotodi told a News24 correspondent that the suspect was arrested at the Leandra Tollgate on Tuesday morning.
“We have arrested a 23-year-old male at about 11:00. The suspect, who is an employee at the Leandra Tollgate, was found in possession of a skimming device which he used to skim clients’ debit cards that pass through the tollgate,” said Sekgotodi.
She said the arrest followed a tip-off from an anonymous person who witnessed the skimming and called the police.
“Yesterday, someone saw the official with the skimming devices, so she/he alerted the police and when we got there, they found him in possession of the skimming device. He was arrested on the spot,” she said.
Sekgotodi said investigators suspect the official could be part of a larger international group of people who were arrested for installing card skimming devices at ATMs in Mbombela.
“There are a lot of cases like this. We have arrested guys from Bulgaria, who will be appearing in court on Thursday. Eight cases have been registered in Mbombela city, where they were putting those skimming devices at ATMS, including ABSA, FNB and others.
“We will investigate the tollgate skimming further so that if there are motorists who have fallen victim to this scam, they can come forward. It is possible that their money is being deducted without them knowing,” said Sekgotodi.
Sekgotodi issued a strong warning to those involved in the scam.
“We are warning the scammers that we are on their heels. We are watching them; their days are numbered. We would also like to warn our motorists and plead that they use other methods of payment to avoid their debit cards being skimmed,” she said.
The suspect would appear in the Leslie Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on charges of fraud.