When someone drops money at the ATM machine

We have all heard this story before. I always thought it was just one of those internet tales – 90% are all false or at best half true half half-baked. But when it happened to my office colleague last week, I knew it was really true. So the story went something like this. She was at the ATM machine at one of the biggest bank conglomerate in this country. They were three or four people queuing up behind her and of course we normally do not bother who they are. At the end of the transaction, as usual the ATM card came out and you have to take out the card first before the money come out. As she was about to take the card, somebody from the back tapped her shoulder, she turned around momentarily forgetting about her card. The man behind her queue pointed to a RM50 note on the floor politely telling her that she dropped the note. She stooped to pick up the note and equally politely telling man that it was not her money as her money was not withdrawn yet. She thought nothing of the incident and quickly took her ATM card from the crevice and took her money. As she need to withdraw quite a big sum, she had to reinsert her card to draw more money. And… much to her surprise the screen displayed a different name. She tried again and again the name on display was different from her name. Suspecting something was wrong she quickly called the bank and after much to-ing and fro-ing with the bank personnels she discovered that a sum of RM3000 was withdrawn from her account within four minutes and the time coincided with the time of her withdrawal when somebody tapped her shoulder. Later when she made the police report, she discovered that a few such cases had happened recently. It was a handiwork of a clever syndicate. Apparently, when somebody tapped her shoulder and she turned around, an accomplice would quickly took her ATM card and switch it with another one. The man who was behind her was somebody with keen ears and eyes properly trained to discern and memorise key pin number even from a distance. After switching the card they coolly went to the next ATM machine and withdrew as much money as permissible including paying their bills and downloading cell phones prepaid. It was really a gem of a work and the poor victim had no way of proving that somebody stole the card or the money. Now you really have to “pandang belakang” (look back) when using the ATM machines and never get distracted by shoulder tapping or money-dropping trick.
Alas now we really running short of place to keep our hard earned money. My former boss suggested that we keep at least RM500 in the house. In case people break into your house they would be quite “happy” to have some money or else they may harm your family members. I wonder how come the crime scenes in this country has gone this low. I am really hoping that with crime reduction as one of the NKRA of the government, crime would really be controllable or else this beloved country of ours would have gone to the dogs.

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