PLETTENBERG BAY NEWS - Plettenberg Bay crime fighters have suggested the implementation of ATM patrols after a sudden spate in ATM scams over the past few days, including one where a tourist was duped out of more than R30 000.
Plett Watch's Lisa Nagel said they received reports last week of two separate incidents in three days involving ATM scams.
"The most recent scam involved the suspects telling the tourist that she had not 'closed' her transaction. When she went to do so, her bank card was snatched. Apparently more than R30 000 was withdrawn from her account in about 10 different transactions before the card was stopped. These criminals are fast and brazen," Nagel said.
'Paying for parking' another scam
She added that in another scam, suspects tell tourists they needed to pay for parking at an ATM. "They are then assisted out of their money."
"Our tourists, who are the lifeblood of our beautiful town, are the targets of these criminals trying every trick in the book to get hold of their bank cards. It is becoming more and more evident that we cannot rely on the authorities to protect our tourists and holidaymakers. The banking institutions also do not provide 24-hour security guards."
'Loss of tourist income'
The knock-on effect of these crimes, she said, would soon be the loss of tourist income. "As ratepaying citizens of this town, we all need to show that we care about our piece of paradise and make it as safe as possible."
Nagel appealed to the public to assist Plett Watch in patrols around ATMs and banks for a few hours each evening. "The plan would be to just spend an hour, between about 17:00 and 21:00 watching the machines. It would entail sitting in your car keeping an eye on the comings and goings of customers at the ATMs. The purpose is not to get involved with any possible criminal event, but to be a deterrent. If anything arouses your suspicion, we would come out and assist immediately."
She added that Plett Watch would be drawing up a roster for each area, divided into timeslots. "This is so that we can have eyes and ears out there continuously, until the criminals get the message that they are in the wrong town. This is a challenge to every single person, to make a difference in Plett and show the country what we have here."
Would you like to get involved?
To become involved, contact Nagel on 072 373 9689.
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