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Protect your money: Tips to avoid card skimming

We often hear from friends and family that their cards have been “skimmed” and their money was taken by fraudsters. You must always be aware of the dangers of card skimming and know how these fraudsters operate.

What is card skimming?

Your debit or credit card has a magnetic strip that contains encoded information. Card skimmers copy this information using a card reader and then use the information to encode other cards. This means that there could be more than one card with the same information on it, making it possible for other people to get access to your money.

Fraudsters will have your PIN and all other card information if they skim your card. Be very vigilant when giving your card to someone – skimming devices are very small and hard to spot.

Tips to avoid card skimming

To help you prevent skimming on your debit or credit cards, we’ve put together a list of tips:
? Stand close to the ATM or machine and always cover your hand when entering your PIN
?Only insert the card when the ATM or machine tells you to
? Don’t accept help from anyone and don’t let anyone call you back to the ATM or machine
?Only use ATMs you are familiar with, be observant and report any suspicious activity
? Check the scanner slot and wiggle it before you insert your card. Also, don’t force the card.
?If an ATM swallows your card, call the bank and stop the card immediately.
? Activate notifications that let you know when transactions go through on your account
? Set limits on your daily spend at your bank

It doesn’t matter where you are, you should always be vigilant and know that card skimming exists. Take care of your hard-earned money – don’t be a victim of card skimming!

How Robbers Mark Your Property - Be Aware!

We received this notice from the Community Police Forum - Cape Town Central, who verify that this is applicable to CT Central. Please take note and remain aware of your surroundings at all times.

A STRAY cooldrink can in front of your property could be a potential marker for robbers, according to the Western Cape Provincial Police Board. The board said criminals using coded markers was a reality, and was not just urban legend.

Frequently e-mails are circulated warning of prospective robbers who put certain items outside houses to indicate whether homeowners are there or not. Police, however, said that while they were aware of the tactics, there was no evidence to prove they were being used.

But the board said it had seen cases where such items were in front of homes that had been burgled, and warned residents to make sure that their pavements were clean, urging them to remove items which could serve as markers.

An e-mail that recently started circulating says items include an upright Coke can, which means nobody is home.

A pile of stones lets robbers know that there are dogs on the property, and two big stones indicate that two elderly people live in the house.

A blue and white packet, such as a Clicks bag, tells robbers that the homeowner is an easy target and that someone inside the house is willing to help with the robbery.

A white plastic bag stuck on a fence also means that there is an easy target inside the house.

Chip packets are weighed down with items, and one pointing to the house means that the owner is at home. One facing the road means no one is at home.

A “Z” painted on a stop sign or a swastika painted on the road means houses in the street have been targeted for burglary.

The e-mail also warned that strange items in front of your home could be part of a ploy to trap you – like cardboard boxes, bricks or tree branches. Do not stop and remove them, you will be a soft target – instead phone the police or your security company.”

ATM Fraud


Understanding and Preventing Home Invasion in South Africa

Read up on the key findings of research conducted by Professor Rudolph Zinn, senior lecturer in Forensic and Crime investigation at the University of South Africa. This insightful article is based on a book titled “Home Invasion: Robbers disclose what you should know”, and provides some useful tips which may just save your life!


Read here for some crime prevention / reaction tips!