With the festive season fast approaching, many are counting down the days before taking a well-deserved break and enjoying their hard earned money with family and loved ones.
However, it also happens to be the time when criminals also plan and execute their plans to commit crimes.
The SAPS recently offered precautionary tips to help members of the public from falling victim to crimes, especially those saving through stokvels and/or social groups.
Two crime types remain prevalent, the police said in a statement.
Firstly, victims are followed out of banks after a cash withdrawal has been made. In some cases, consumers are followed after withdrawing money at an ATM to their residences or places of work or any other place where it is easy to rob them.
“It is apparent that secondly, in the case of bank branches, ‘spotters’ still operate and communicate the victims’ descriptions to accomplices, who wait outside the bank.”
Small business owners are also at risk, particularly when withdrawing cash to pay weekly wages.
The police said that most robbers were armed and would resort to violence if victims resisted.
“These kinds of robberies are not limited to urban areas, but also occur in rural communities.”
The public was urged to:
– Carry as little cash as possible.
– Consider the convenience of paying your accounts electronically.
– Consider making use of cell phone banking or Internet transfers or ATMs.
– Never make bank visits public, even to people close to you.
– Vary the days and times on which you deposit cash.
– Do not openly display the money you are depositing, while you are standing in the bank queue.
– Avoid carrying moneybags, briefcases or openly displaying your deposit receipt book.
– It is advisable to identify another branch nearby that you can visit to ensure that your banking pattern is not easily recognisable or detected.
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– If the amount of cash you are regularly depositing is increasing as your business grows, consider using the services of a cash management company.
– Refrain from giving wages to your contract or casual labourers in full view of the public; rather make use of wage accounts that can be provided by your bank.
– Consider arranging for electronic transfers of wages to contract or casual labourers’ personal bank accounts.
The stokvel safety tips offered were:
– Refrain from making cash deposits of club members’ contributions on high-risk days (eg, Mondays after month-end).
– Ensure persons depositing club cash contributions or making withdrawals are accompanied by another club member.
– A stokvel savings club or burial society can arrange for members to deposit cash directly into the club’s account instead of collecting cash contributions.
– Arrange for the club’s payout to be electronically transferred into each club member’s personal account or accounts of their choice.
– Take another person with when going to deposit club cash contributions.
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