CONNED: Segun and the ATM trying to find his card Photo:Nokuthula Manyathi

CONNED: Segun at the ATM trying to find his card
Photo:Nokuthula Manyathi

On Monday evening, a Southdale man stopped off at the Braamfontein Centre to draw R50 for taxi fare. As he put his card into the machine, two men approached and told him the ATM didn’t work.

They are not smart. I am just a big fool
One of them told him to key in his cellphone number to make the machine work. “All of a sudden one of the two men was pressing buttons on the ATM, I turned around and they were quickly walking away.” Segun, who would not give his surname, tried to eject his card but nothing happened. Minutes later he received an SMS saying R1 620 had been withdrawn and that his available balance was R6.

“They are not smart. I am just a big fool,” he said, as he dialled a friend’s number with shaking hands. “All my money is gone. How am I going to get home? I am stranded.”He said he had decided to use the First National Bank ATM at Braamfontein Centre because he thought it would be safer than using the ATM on the street.

Ask us the securities, we won’t rob you.
Abigail Dube, a security guard at Braamfontein Centre, said people should stop asking for and accepting help from strangers. “Don’t talk to strangers…Ask us the securities, we won’t rob you.” Dube said students never asked for their help, but were “quick to cry ‘security’ when they were ripped- off. She said she could only help those who asked for help. “Money is confidential. We can only help if people ask us.”Ncane Bogosi, another security guard at Braamfontein Centre, said a few weeks ago a man lost more than R4 000 because he let a stranger “help” him. “They think we don’t know how to operate an ATM,” said Bogosi.

Other danger zones

Braamfontein Centre is not the only place where students should be alert. Shandukani Mulaudzi, a Wits Vuvuzela journalist, almost lost her money when she tried to withdraw money at the Standard Bank ATM just in front of The Grove in Melle Street. Mulaudzi arrived at the ATM to find a man “who looked like he just withdrew money”. He told her to stop saying the ATM wasn’t working. He grabbed the card from her hand.

“I kept watching his hands and it looked like he wanted to put it in his sleeve.” Mulaudzi confronted the man: “Hayibo, wenzani ?”A security guard then approached and the man got nervous. He gave her back her card and quickly walked away. Mulaudzi said students should be very alert and not accept help. “Don’t ever let anyone help you. Always trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe, don’t use the ATM.”