The South African Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) closed in on a ATM card swooping syndicate.
BuzzSouthAfrica learnt that a 49-year-old man, who is already in custody at St Albans Prison in Port Elizabeth, has been charged by Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime unit as the 13th suspect of an alleged ATM card swopping syndicate.
The man is in prison for an unrelated case and, is now expected to make his first appearance before the New Law court in Port Elizabeth come January 2017 for Fraud.
As alleged, the suspect, together with Luthando Ngesi (20), Linda Aba (36), Simpiwe Bulelani Twalo (27), Bruce Lee Mawela (38), Luthando Mfini (29), Lazola Mjekula (30), Sandile Sicolo (34), Ntsikelelo Giba (56), Mzimkhulu Mqaba (47), Caroline Bundwini (42), Siviwe Mpapela (24) and Lungile Anthony Billy (41), conducted ATM card swopping at various ATM machines around Port Elizabeth.
Hawks has been working on the case since 2015. While the first suspect was arrested on 3 December 2015, the last was arrested in November 2016.
Based on the above, Hawks cautioned the public to be extra vigilant during this festive season. According to the Directorate, it is during festive season that ATM card swooping crimes are most prevalent.
“Do not allow anyone to help you when performing a transaction at an ATM, only receive help from the staff of the bank.
If your card is swallowed by the machine, immediately phone the number written on the ATM where you can cancel your card.
Card swooping and the withdrawal of the cash all happens in a few minutes, therefore, phone the number immediately and cancel your card in order to prevent loss,” Hawks charged.
Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies have seized counterfeit goods with an estimated value of R60 million at shops in Johannesburg’s central business district.
The counterfeit goods were seized during a joint operation conducted by Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime unit, South African Police Service, Department of Home Affairs, customs and SARS.