Exposed! Here’s How Criminals Get To Steal Your Cash In South Africa


On behalf of banking outlets, a recent study by the South African Banking Risk Information Center (SABRIC) reported that associated robberies increased by 29% in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa despite a general 23% decrease in such robberies.

Unlike the previous year when the banking industry did not only experienced an overall 30 percent increase in associated robberies, but as well saw some bank clients lose their lives as they were killed on their way from the bank after withdrawing large amounts of cash, the Eastern and Western Cape provinces recorded the biggest decrease in this crime as associated robberies respectively declined by a 40 and 46 percent. Kalyani Pillay, SABRIC CEO attributed the decrease to “the collective collaborative efforts of not only the banking industry and law enforcement, but of the bank clients who have decided to heed the call to not carry large sums of cash and use alternate methods of banking”.

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In view of the unfortunate 29% increase of this crime in the Mpumalanga Province, mitigation efforts between law enforcement and the industry are being implemented to address the persisting problem. You’ll get to read about the said efforts, but below are the tricks criminals use to steal cash.

The Money Bomb Scam

As reported, “the perpetrator drops a roll of paper, covered with an official banknote to attract the attention of an identified target. The target in most cases is a bank client who has just made a large cash withdrawal from the bank. Once the client attempts to pick up the cash, a co-perpetrator would also claim the cash and suggest they share it. The sharing of the cash usually occurs at a location away from the bank where the bank clients is then robbed of the cash that he or she just withdrew”.

Clone As Police Officers

Alternatively, a co-perpetrator impersonating a police official would confront both client and accomplice, claiming to investigate the circumstances surrounding the cash. Both the client and accomplice would be placed under arrest and informed that they would be taken to a police station. However, they are all taken to a secluded area where the bank client is robbed of the cash withdrawn from the bank.


Here, the criminals observe you while you make your transaction in the bank, they then follow you home or hunt you down where ever your destination is, and make off with your money.

Tips For Evading Associated Robberies

Urging bank clients to consider using alternative banking methods like internet and cell phone banking in order to avoid these robberies and the risk of losing their lives, SABRIC came up with the under-listed:

  1. If you need to pay accounts, consider options that are lower risk instead of withdrawing large sums of cash. Apply the following TIPS to avoid being a victim: Carry as little cash as possible
  2. Consider the convenience of paying your accounts electronically (consult your bank to find out about other available options)
  3. Consider making use of cell phone banking or internet transfers or ATMS to do your banking

Expanding these tips, mybroadband highlighted that a small business which is cash-based should apply the tips below:

  1.  Alternate the days and times on which you deposit cash.
  2. Never make your bank visits public, even to people close to you.
  3. Do not openly display the money you are depositing while you are standing in the bank queue.
  4. Avoid carrying money bags, briefcases, or openly displaying your deposit receipt book.
  5. It is advisable to identify another branch nearby you that you can visit to ensure that your banking pattern is not easily identifiable.
  6. If the amount of cash you are regularly depositing is increasing as your business grows, consider using the services of a cash management company.
  7. Refrain from giving wages to your contract or casual labourers in full view of the public – rather make use of wage accounts at your bank.
  8. Consider arranging for electronic transfers of wages to contract or casual labourers’ accounts.

Cash Robbery percentage in SA

Meanwhile, you don’t need to worry much for there have been an intervention and stabilization program involving the South African Police Service since April this year in the Witbank area of Mpumalanga. Also, SAPS in partnership with SABRIC will be launching similar programs in other identified areas around the country. One of the essence of the said programs is “to compile a list of the Top 100 suspects wanted for banking crimes as well as the localized Top 20 most wanted suspects per identified hot-spot”. These lists will be made public in due course.

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