How To Keep Your ATM Card Safe

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On October 16, 2014, a 23-year-old graduate of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue State, Ondavey Weize, was paraded by the Cross River State Police Command for engaging in ATM fraud.

Weize was caught with 60 different ATM cards, and had succeeded in swapping the ATM cards of many people and had withdrawn money from their accounts to spend lavishly in hotels and night clubs.

He said of the cards in his possession: “Some of those cards are not valid but many of them are. What I do is to monitor people making withdrawals from ATMs.

“I go close to them and pretend to help. I memorise their pin numbers and while the person is counting his money, I swap his ATM card with an invalid one and later use it to make withdrawals from his account.

This is just one of the many ways unsuspecting members of the public are stripped of their hard-earned money by fraudsters.

To stem this ugly tide, Guaranty Trust Bank, a leading bank in the country, compiled a list of the steps to take to avoid falling victim of ATM fraud.

Card Safety Tips

  1. Keep your PIN Secret.DO NOT write your Personal Identification Number (PIN) on paper or give it out to anyone, including friends and family, and do not reveal it to anyone over the phone. Avoid using numbers that are easily identified (birth date, phone number, etc.) with your personal identity. Report lost or stolen cards immediately.
  1. Review your card account frequently.If you notice any irregularities e.g. charges on items you didn’t order, cash withdrawals you didn’t make, etc. Put a call to us immediately to report this.
  1. Always check your email for transaction updates.The email notification service is free and compulsory for the safety of your account. To enrol for this service please call GTConnect on the following numbers: 0700 482666328, 01 4480000, 080 39003900, 080 29002900 OR visit any of our branches near you.
  1. Hotlist immediately.If your card is retracted at an ATM, be sure to hotlist your card while you are still at the ATM. To hotlist your card, kindly send ‘HOTLIST<NUBAN>’ to 08076665555.
  1. Keep your eye on your card.Ensure your card is in your clear view whenever an attendant at a shop wants to swipe your card. DO NOT allow the attendant take your card into an inner room or enter your PIN on your behalf.
  1. Free Trials are not ‘free’.If you initiate a trial subscription with a merchant, make sure you go back to the website to cancel your account before your free trial expires. Otherwise, you will be charged by them in subsequent months.
  1. Carefully Read the Terms and Conditionswhen making reservations as some reservations are non-refundable. Make sure you cancel your reservation on or before the due date to prevent no-show charges if you do not show up.



John is a University of Lagos-trained journalist. His views are always the end products of a deliberate search for information and knowledge. He has read almost every novel written by Chinua Achebe, Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown. He is an expert Scrabble and draughts player who is also excellent at swimming. If you know the capitals of 45 African countries by heart, then you are exactly like him.

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