MASERU — A South African pilot working in Lesotho will rue the day he asked a stranger to help him withdraw money from an ATM in the Maseru industrial area two weeks ago.
This after the seemingly friendly stranger fled with his bank card and used it to withdraw M7 230 from his account.
According to a police report, the stranger volunteered to help the 56-year-old pilot who was having trouble withdrawing money at an ATM near Scooters Pizza.
“The man was struggling to withdraw money from his account when a man who was behind him on the queue volunteered to help him,” police spokesperson Masupha Masupha said.
“He (the suspect) asked the pilot to insert his card and enter his pin (personal identification number). He then pulled the card from the machine and ran away with it.”
Masupha said the suspect fled in a car with a vehicle registration number F1038.
He said the suspect later abandoned the car after he veered off the road and hit a wall in Hillsview suburb.
“Later that day it was discovered that the suspect had withdrawn M7 230 from the pilot’s account. No one has been arrested in connection with this case,” Masupha said.
Masupha said over the past few months “a lot of people were robbed of their money in a similar style”.
“The criminals put papers in the ATM machine so that it cannot work.
“Then when the unsuspecting ATM users start having problems withdrawing their money the criminals will offer to help.
“They will then tell the customer to punch in their secret numbers. After that they will pull the card from the machine and run away.
“Because they already know the secret number they will be able to access the money. We urge people not to accept help from strangers.”
Meanwhile, in another incident a 51-year-old Scottish man last week lost M98 000 he had just withdrawn from a local bank.
According to a police report the man was travelling with four women aged between 19 and 21 when he withdrew the money.
One of the ladies, Masupha said, was driving the vehicle.
“He showed the girls the money he had and went to one of the restaurants for drinks with them,” Masupha said.
“After having a couple of drinks they went to the car and to his surprise the money had been stolen”.
“There was no sign of forced entry into the car. The ladies were taken in for questioning but noone has been arrested yet.”