By Nqobile Tshili
Some local banks have partnered with international experts to curb ATM card fraud which police say is on the increase in the country. The institutions have singled out supermarket employees as the biggest culprits in the crime.
Steward Bank and the National Building Society (NBS) have said they are working with companies that specialise in curbing ATM card fraud to safeguard their customers.
A number of banks have gone the same route, although they declined to be cited.
“Customers are further advised that the bank recently partnered with NetGuardian (fraud monitoring experts for banks worldwide) to implement a world class fraud monitoring systems across all our channels to increase security on all our customer transactions and reduce the risk of fraud,” reads a Steward Bank statement.
The bank said its clients should insist on being given receipts even for failed transactions.
“Report any suspicious transactions to your bank or the police immediately. Register with bank to receive transaction alerts through SMS or on email. Merchants are only authorised to process swipe into EcoCash transactions to the account holders only and not to a third party accounts,” adds the statement.
NBS has been sending text messages to some of its clients warning them against sharing their banking details or pin codes with third parties.
Steward Bank emphasised the same issue.
“Steward Bank has noticed with concern, the increase of fraudulent transactions involving card cloning countrywide. We encourage all customers to remain vigilant and observe the following transacting habits when using your card.
“Never share your pin with a third party, hide your pin when keying into an ATM/POS machine when making a purchase at merchants, your card should never leave your sight when making a purchase at merchants,” the bank said.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango said several cases of card cloning have been recorded in the city.
She said the card cloning fraudsters allegedly connive with employees in shops to commit the crime.
“We have dealt with several cases of card cloning. Most of the culprits are working in cahoots with employees of retail shops, service stations among other outlets. We appeal to members of public to desist from issuing their pin code to third parties as they risk being defrauded,” said Insp Simango.
She said members of the public should heed tips and hints sent to them by the police and the banking sector.
Card cloning and other forms of ATM card fraud have been relatively rare in the country but are widespread in neighbouring countries like South Africa.
The scourge is an emerging crime that is fast taking root in Zimbabwe.
Due to prevailing cash shortages, the country has migrated to plastic money for most transactions.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development recently said of the $97 billion worth of transactions that were performed in the country last year, 96 percent were conducted electronically. The Chronicle