A trend of fraud by ‘conmen’ targeting unsuspecting users of Automated Teller Machines (ATM), has started to emerge in Accra and other urban areas.
Prentending to be ignorant, these fraudsters,who have cloned or stolen cards, approach other users to help them with their transactions.
The ATMs have hidden cameras that capture the operator, and in order not to be captured, the fraudsters seek the assistance of others to carry out their illegal activity.
Confirming this to The Mirror in an interview last Wednesday, the Director of the Fraud Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service, Chief Superintendent Felix Kokui Mawusi said one cannot trust anybody including the security men.
“If anyone has a problem, simply direct them to the banking hall or ask them to call their bankers.
You might just be helping but these people are smart and can land you into trouble.” he added.
He also advised the general public to be wary of individuals who linger around ATMs, under the pretence of helping people who have difficulty with transactions.
He said such persons were fraudsters who hanged around ATMs with the intention of getting access to information on ATM cards, as well as Personal Identification Number (PIN) in order to steal from people’s account.
Chief Superintendent Mawusi said since the ATM card and PIN was another way to get access to money, it should be handled with the same care as cash.
He said the best thing to do when approached was to simply ignore them and leave the place.
He said some of these people were experts who could easily remake the cards just by getting the information of a user, adding that in some instances, they were able to block the security camera and so it became more difficult to trace them after the stealing had been detected.
Chief Superintendent Mawusi said the police had embarked on many sensitisation programmes to warn the general public but people do not listen and end up been duped by these fraudsters.
The Head of Cards and Electronic Banking at the Calbank, Douglas Essuah, in an interview, said it was advisable to reduce time spent at ATMs by having the cards out ready to use.
‘If you see anyone or anything suspicious while conducting a transaction, cancel your transaction and leave. Do not count cash at the machine; wait until you are in a safe place. Always observe your surroundings before a transaction and when possible, take a friend along, especially at night,’ he advised.
He added that since the PIN was the key to the account it should not be disclosed to anybody including staff of the bank that issued the card.
‘‘Never key in your PIN before you are prompted to do so by the ATM. You can stand close to the machine or use hand and body as a shield when typing in your PIN so that other people cannot see.’’,he said.
Mr Essuah said if anybody approached you to assist in any transaction and you feel it would be safer to “play along,” you could key in an incorrect PIN or leave the ATM immediately.
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