On the 11th of May 2023, a victim shared her harrowing experience of falling prey to a new form of ATM stand scam. As she made her way to work, she decided to make a quick stop at a Polaris Bank ATM machine to withdraw money for the day.
Upon reaching the cubicle, she noticed three ATM machines, accompanied by a group of individuals nearby. Curious about the availability of cash, she inquired if the machines were dispensing money. The individuals claimed they were also testing them out.
Opting for the last machine, which stood alone, she proceeded to insert her card. To her surprise, a red alert flashed on the screen, warning of a “SCAM FRAUD ALERT,” and her card was rejected.
Suddenly, a man emerged from the other side of the two machines and approached the one that had just rejected her card. Oblivious to any malicious intent, she cautioned him against using the machine, explaining the warning message it displayed. Dismissing her concerns, he attributed it to a network issue.
In a matter of seconds, he seized the victim’s card, swiftly rubbed it against his head, and inserted it into the machine. Immediately after the card was inserted, the screen went blank, and the card became trapped inside the ATM.
Seeking assistance, the victim attempted to alert the security officers at the ATM stand, but to her dismay, the man who had offered help earlier had vanished without a trace. The other individuals nonchalantly mentioned that such incidents were common and advised her to input her PIN and select “Reject.”
Trusting their advice, she followed their instructions repeatedly, but it proved futile as the fraudsters discreetly made their exit from the scene.
Aware that time was running out, she resorted to sending a message to her bank to block her account since she no longer had access to her ATM card. Unfortunately, as soon as she activated her data, a dreaded DEBIT ALERT appeared on her screen, signifying that all her savings had been depleted.
Unknown to her, the ATM machine had been programmed to capture her PIN, rendering it the sole requirement for the fraudsters’ scheme.
Determined to resolve the issue, she promptly visited her bank and blocked her account. However, her complaints fell on deaf ears as the bank stated that there was nothing they could do, acknowledging that these fraudulent individuals were consistently operating at the ATM machines. Shockingly, she discovered that she was the fourth person to report such an incident.
Baffled by the lack of preventive measures in place, she questioned the bank about their efforts to combat this matter, only to receive no answer.
In conclusion, it became evident that these fraudsters had an insider accomplice within the bank who facilitated their illicit activities.
Take heed of this cautionary tale: Refrain from engaging in conversations or allowing anyone to approach you while inside an ATM machine cubicle. These fraudsters are pervasive and operate ubiquitously.
Should an ATM machine display a red alert warning of a “Scam fraud alert,” remember to prioritize your safety above all else and immediately leave the area.
In Nigeria, a single kobo holds great value; losing substantial sums is simply unthinkable.