As part of its continued customer and public education on ATM card fraud, Barclays Bank of Botswana has implored ATM card holders to ensure utmost vigilance at all times when using their cards.

According to the bank’s Head of Fraud Operations Ms Puseletso Seitei, whilst card skimming is a rampant problem within the banking industry the world at over, in Botswana this has become synonymous with holidays as that is when people use their bank cards the most, within very short intervals. "A lot of times during holidays, customers tend to swipe more often and some generally don’t keep a clear record of their transactions. In the event of any type of fraud, a customer can therefore only notice months later, as in some rare cases fraudsters are able to organise delay tactics to prevent the normal instant SMS alerts that inform customers of transactions made” she said.

Seitei indicated that as we approach the Independence Holidays this month, there will no doubt be an increase in the number of ATM transactions, something that puts bank customers in general at risk of being swindled of their money. She therefore implored all cardholders to practice utmost vigilance whenever they use their ATM card, reiterating that fraudsters come in all types of characters that can easily cheat unsuspecting customers.

“Some of the fraudsters pose as useful and innocent ATM users and would go to the extent of even proactively offering to assist those that they think do not know how to use ATMs. Cardholders should therefore avoid such people and only refer their need for assistance to trusted people that they know, or bank employees with bank identity cards. Even then, cardholders should never let anyone see their PIN. They must also avoid using the ATM if there are any suspicious looking individuals around and should not use ATMs if they notice anything unusual indicating it may have been tampered with”, she explained.

She highlighted that sometimes customers allow shop assistants to leave their vicinity with their ATM cards, something she said should not be allowed to happen as it increases card fraud. According to Seitei, this also increases the chances of the customer forgetting their ATM card therefore exposing the customer’s finances to even more risk. She cautioned cardholders against giving their PINs to anyone, and said that in most cases family members give one another their PINs, a practice that she said can create a card skimming environment.

Seitei said that customers should also know that the moment they notice that their ATM cards are missing, they must instantly report that to the bank’s customer care number so that the card can be blocked forthwith.