Dangers and annoyances: safety tips and warnings

Below we publish some warnings and tips on how to avoid problems while on tour in Namibia.

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From Tour and Safari Association:

Crime report for your information and necessary actions.

ATM at the Bank Windhoek Branch : Independence Avenue Windhoek (close to Kentucky Fried Chicken): 18/7/2003: 13h05

Tourists went to the ATM machine to withdraw money using their credit card. A man approached, offering to assist. They let the man "assist" and he fiddled with their card and later told them that the machine has taken-in the card. He then left and tourists were left struggling to remove the card. Minutes later another man appeared and inserted his card. He claimed that the machine is blocked and asked them for the pin number to remove the card for them. They fell for the trick, gave out their pin number and the gentleman just walked out not realizing these people are together and that the first person had in fact taken the card before the second man. Later they used the card and withdrew US$ 750-00 from the machine. Bank confirmed withdrawal.

Kindly note that a cash incentive is available through TASA to security guard (s) or police officer (s) who protected tourist (s) in their line of duty.
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Crime Report : 30 July 2003 : 15h00 : ATM Commercial Bank - Independence Avenue, Windhoek

Whilst tourist was busy withdrawing money, a group arrived and explained that the system has been changed and that it is a new procedure to assist clients - they then stole the client's credit card and escaped. Group of
'assistants' consisted of 5 people. Stolen items : one credit card.
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This is an appeal to all of you to be very careful when going to ATM's to withdraw money and be especially careful when being approached by any person posing as a bank staff member (e.g. dressed in the clothes of Standard Bank) trying to assist you with the machine. A colleague of mine was approached by a person posing as a Standard Bank employee at the Ausspanplatz ATM and informed her that the ATM was faulty and he would assist her. While he was trying to assist her, the person behind her watched her pin number and in a few seconds he told her that her card was swallowed by the ATM, and that she should call the bank in the morning to collect her card. When she called the bank this morning to get her ATM card, she was informed that the card was of course not swallowed and that N$2,000.00 was withdrawn from her account. To make matters worse, they deposited N$4,000.00 into her account (when the bank opened the deposit envelope it was empty) and immediately withdrew N$1,000.00 last night and another N$1,000.00 this morning. Unfortunately she has to pay the N$2,000.00 back to the bank as she being unaware revealed her pin number to the thieves. In addition, we just now also heard that the same thing happened to a Standard Bank employee's husband at the GAME ATM last night, with withdrawals being made last night and this morning. Thus please be very careful, especially since we are approaching the holiday. This is usually the busy time for the thieves.
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On Sunday, 29 February 2004, at about 11h00 the following happened at the Christus Church in the centre of town:

Tourist vehicle was stationed at the parking area, all guests, including guide wandered around. Whilst walking in the direction of the Tintenpalast, a guest requested to return to the vehicle to fetch something. The guide
continued with the rest of the group and handed the vehicle's keys over to guest. After having unlocked the bus the guest started looking for his bag in the back of the vehicle and unknown to the guest, a thief got in at the
front door - which was unlocked at that stage - and started stealing bags, money, cell phones, etc.

Thief was spotted making off with the bags, but not apprehended.

Certain "elements" are “hanging around” in this area and specifically target tourists and tourist vehicles, according to the Police (guarding parliament nearby) - but they (Police) are unable to do much about it.

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February 2005

To all Staff and Licensees,

The latest scam involves thieves putting a thin, clear, rigid plastic sleeve into the ATM card slot. When you insert your card, the machine can’t read the strip, so it keeps asking you to re-enter your PIN number.

Meanwhile, someone behind you watches as you enter your PIN number. Eventually you give up, thinking the machine has swallowed your card and you walk away.

The thieves then remove the plastic sleeve complete with card, and then empty your account. The way to avoid this is to run your finger along the card slot before you put your card in. The sleeve has a couple of tiny prongs that the thieves need to get the sleeve back out of the slot, and you’ll be able to feel them.

The Police would like as many people as possible to be aware of this scam, so pass this on to your friends and family.

Regards,

Phil Taylor
Cash Services Manager
Chubb Mobile Services

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