Atm scams that are trending

ATM scams that are trending in South Africa. Image: iStock

Beware of the trending ATM scams

It’s crucial to to know how to avoid ATM scams, since ATMs are a favorite target for thieves because of their rising usage.

Atm scams that are trending

ATM scams that are trending in South Africa. Image: iStock

Due to the increased use of ATMs, scammers have developed a number of scams like ATM shoulder surfing, card skimming, card swopping, and trapping cards inside ATMs to steal card data or physical cards.

These cards are then used to make unauthorized ATM withdrawals and local purchases.

ALSO READ: Suspected ATM scammer arrested for tampering with machine

There is card swopping, the victim’s card is switched while they are using it to make a transaction at the ATM. This normally occurs after the victim has entered the required PIN to complete the transaction.

Prior to the card swap, a thief would have shoulder surfed the PIN. Criminals that engage in card swopping typically operate in groups of three or less. While others focus on the actual swopping, some may try to divert the victim. The victim then exits the ATM using another person’s card.

ALSO READ: Alleged Joburg ATM scammers nabbed in KZN

According to the SABRI statement, “there is also skimming at the ATM, where a person claiming to be working for the bank approaches the client. Using various social engineering skills, the client is requested to re-activate the card by swiping the card through a device which is a skimming device. This can happen prior or after the client has already withdrawn money from the ATM. Often there would be a second or even third person loitering around the ATM, shoulder surfing for the PIN the moment the client uses the ATM.”

The ATM card reader entrance slot may occasionally be harmed. While the victim is struggling to insert their card, the criminal would approach them and steal their ATM card, frequently leading them to another ATM where they can try to withdraw money.

ALSO READ: ATM scam alert: Mpumalanga schemers prey on unsuspecting victims

The card is taken by the thief as they make their way to the second ATM, and it is skimmed. The fact that the victim is given back the original card only for them to subsequently learn that money was removed from the account is what makes this situation so frightening.


Never force your card into the slot if you experience initial difficulty, as it might have been tampered with.

ALSO READ: Watch: ATM scam caught on camera in Cape Town

If your card is swallowed by the ATM, do not leave the ATM before you have cancelled your card.