It is almost that time of the year where members of the community are looking forward to the festive season and spending their hard-earned money with their loved ones.
Regrettably, this is also the time in which criminal elements will attempt to continue with their evil plans, including committing crimes such as robberies.
As a precautionary measure, police would like to caution members of the community, particularly those, who have been saving money through stokvel groupings or societies to avoid carrying a lot of cash.
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Two crime types remain prevalent; firstly victims are followed out of banks after a cash withdrawal has been made.
In some of the incidences, consumers are followed after withdrawing money at an automated teller machines (ATMs) to their residences, places of work, vehicles 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’ description to accomplices, who wait outside the bank.
Small business owners are also at risk, particularly when drawing cash to pay weekly wages.
In most robberies, robbers are armed and will resort to violence if the victim resists. These kind of robberies are not limited to urban areas, but also occur in rural communities.
There are safer ways to do transactions, such as internet transfers or mobile banking, instead of carrying large amounts of cash.
Members of the community are urged to protect themselves and reduce the risk of becoming victims by applying a number of safety tips.
Carry as little cash as possible. Consider the convenience of paying your accounts electronically, consult your bank to find out about other available options.
Consider making use of cellphone banking or internet transfers or ATMs to do your banking. Never make your bank visits public, even to people close to you.
Vary the days and times on which you deposit cash. Never make your bank visits public, even to people close to you.
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 recognizable 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 laborers 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 community may also follow tips for stokvel groupings. Refrain from making cash deposits of club members’ contributions on high-risk days (eg: Monday 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 pay out 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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