Western Cape police issue safety tips

Western Cape: It is that time of year when many businesses close for the holiday period. Some people get year-end bonuses others share and receive their hard earned savings. Herewith find a list of safety tips in order to prevent oneself from falling victim to robberies, vehicle related crime, and crimes perpetrated at ATMs, banks and on the internet.

Carrying Cash Safely:

Tips to Avoid Being a Victim of Cash Robberies for Individuals

If you need to pay accounts, consider options that are lower risk instead of withdrawing large sums of cash. Apply the following TIPS to avoid being a victim:

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 cell phone banking or internet transfers or ATMs to do your banking.

Tips to Avoid Being a Victim of Cash Robberies for Businesses

A small business which is cash based and needs to deposit money on a regular basis at the bank should apply the following TIPS which will minimize the chances of you being a victim of robberies:

Alternate 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 money bags, briefcases or openly displaying your deposit receipt book

It's advisable to identify another branch nearby that you can visit to ensure that your banking pattern is not easily recognisable or detected

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

Refrain from driving to the bank in your company branded vehicle on a typical 'pay day'

Consider arranging for electronic transfers of wages to your contract or casual labourers' personal bank accounts.

Tips to Avoid Being a Victim of Cash Robberies for Savings Clubs and Stokvels

If you are a member of a cash savings club, advise members of your club of the following TIPS that will assist your club from being victim to cash robberies:

Refrain from making cash deposits of club members' contributions on high risk days (e.g. 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.

Safety Awareness in a Vehicle

Ensure that your vehicle is in a good condition when you plan to go on a journey.

Ensure that the fuel tank of your vehicle always has sufficient fuel.

Always lock your vehicles doors and keep the windows closed.

Do not leave your vehicle unlocked, even if you think you will be away for only a minute.

Avoid to stop at remote places.

Park your vehicle in places that are well lit.

If a stranger wants to talk to you while in your vehicle, do not open the window wide -only 5 cm is enough to have a discussion.

If something seems suspicious, do not talk to strangers, rather be rude and drive away.

Limit your trips at night or at least take someone along with you.

Vary the route you travel to work and back, if this is possible.

If approached by a stranger while in your car, drive off if possible or press your hooter to attract attention.

If strangers loiter near or at your driveway, rather drive past. If they loiter for a long time, report it to your nearest police station.

Car jackers may stage a minor accident so they can approach your car.

If your car is bumped from behind and you do not feel comfortable with the individual(s) involved in the situation, drive to the nearest police station for help.

Do not reach for your purse or valuables. Leave everything behind if forced from the car.

Your life is more valuable than your possessions.

Do not resist, especially if the thief has a weapon.

Give up your vehicle with no questions asked and move away.

A lift club limits the risk of becoming a victim of crime.

Do not give strangers a lift.

A gear lock is an affordable and a very effective anti-theft device.

If possible, put up a mirror against the front wall of your garage to see if someone is following you into the garage.

Do not open your garage doors before your gates are closed.

Safety TIPS at the ATM

Be alert and conscious of your surroundings when using the ATM.

Never give your card or PIN (Personal Identification Number) to anyone, for any reason.

Don't write your PIN on the card or anything that is kept with the card.

Do not insert your card until asked to do so by the display screen.

Never use an ATM with a blank screen and, if the ATM is obscured from view or poorly lit, leave immediately and find another ATM.

Stand close to the ATM and use your body and hand as shield to make sure nobody sees you keying in your pin.

Also, make sure you keep your hand over the card slot to make sure nobody can swop or take your card.

Never accept help from strangers when using an ATM. You should be wary of strangers asking for help.

Criminals work in teams- one to distract you while the other steals your card or money.

If your card is retained (swallowed) by the ATM it is advisable to phone your bank toll free stop card line immediately and stop your card.

Never allow a bystander to call the toll-free stop card line on your behalf- they could be tricking you into thinking your card has been stopped.

Guards are placed at ATMs to discourage criminal activities and therefore cannot help you with transactions.

If you need help, ask a bank official.

It is advisable to set a daily ATM withdrawal limit at your branch.

Source: South African Police Service