Police in Dar es Salaam have arrested a 23-year-old woman suspected of stealing money from bank users after illegally obtaining their ATM cards.
Halima Juma was last Tuesday arrested at a CRDB bank ATM in Mbagala, Dar es Salaam when a bank teller raised the alarm after suspecting that Halima was “up to no good”.
The teller claimed he grew suspicious when Halima used different ATM cards of the same bank to withdraw money from one ATM machine.
After being busted, Halima, a resident of Chalinze, tried to escape, but was cornered by the bank’s security guards, who handed her over to police.
A body search conducted on her yielded 23 ATM cards that had been hidden in her private parts. The cards were of nine different banks, including: Equity, Diamond Trust Bank (DTB), CFC Stanbic, NBC, CRDB (the country’s leading bank), NMB, Amana, Posta and ACB.
Dar es Salaam regional police boss, Lazaro Mambosasa, said Halima was caught on several surveillance cameras entering different ATM rooms, and withdrawing large sums of money using the different ATM cards.
“On October 25, 2019, one Ernest Mika Sakala, a retired senior soldier in Tanzania, reported at the Mbagala Maturubai Police Station that on October 23, at around 4pm, a woman, unknown to him, exchanged his ATM card of CRDB Bank with another of the same bank. When Sakala went to withdraw money from an ATM machine in Dar Live Mbagala Zakhem branch on October 25, he discovered that the ATM he was in possession of was not his. When he inquired from CRDB Bank in Mbagala on the same day, he discovered that Tsh10 million (Ksh442, 000) had been withdrawn from his bank account between October 23 and October 25,” said Mambosasa.
“Records showed that the monies were withdrawn from three tellers in different banks. The said-tellers have since been arrested for questioning,” said Mambosasa.
The police chief says Halima confessed to being part of an ATM Cards-theft syndicate that withdraw users’ money after obtaining the cards through dishonest means.
“She said they have been targeting the elderly rich-but-illiterate men and women, and pretend to help them withdraw money from ATM machines. She said they usually ask the users for their PIN numbers, and once they reveal the information, they lie to them that the ATM card has been ‘swallowed’, and so they should report to their respective banks the following day. They, thereafter, go to another ATM machine and withdraw the monies,” said Mambosasa.
“The other method they are employing is standing next to a user who has just withdrawn money via a teller. So, when the client has received his money, and is in the process of either counting or loading them into an envelope, they exchange his or her ATM card with another one. Of course, you know many a times, when one is counting money, the last thing they would pick from the counter is the ATM card and the identity card,” said Mambosasa.
Halima said the syndicate did not involve any of the country’s bank employees.
Investigations are underway, police say.