Cops seize fake ATM cards

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

Botswana Police have been working round the clock tracking culprits behind the production of fake Automated Teller Machine cards. A breakthrough came this week however, when they discovered a cache of ATM and identity cards (IDs) called Omang.  A suspected criminal syndicate that specializes in the production of fraudulent Botswana identify cards, the Omang, and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards is now in the hands of police.

In the ring are thousands of non-citizens who are suspected to have bought fake ID cards on the black market at a cost of about USD300.00 each.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars are also believed to have been fraudulently withdrawn from different bank accounts with the fake ATM cards, another product of the same syndicate.

Detective Superintendent Sergeant Marapo of Mogoditshane Police Station told the media that they are investigating two similar cases in which his unit confiscated a number of fake Botswana IDs as well as ATM cards belonging to different commercial banks.

He explained that in the first case of IDs, two suspects, aged between 25 and 44, were arrested after being found in possession of about 13 fake IDs. He said the two were arrested and detained but later released from custody.

He said the IDs look very genuine and they are used for criminal activities, especially at the banks to cash stolen bank cheques. Marapo said they suspect that many foreigners bought the fake IDs on the black market.

In a related case, Marapo said five suspects were also arrested after being found in possession of different ATM cards of different commercial banks.

However, Marapo was not in a position to state the exact amount of money that could have been withdrawn fraudulently, locally and abroad.

“We have already notified the concerned banks about the fraudulent cards that we have seized,” he said.

Marapo said the criminals complement each other with some producing Omang cards and others producing ATM cards with both documents working hand in hand in most cases.

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