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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

WATCH: Motorists beware! Banking app kidnapping and other hijacking trends

The rise of banking app kidnapping and other hijacking trends to be on the look-out for. Also, watch how this man outsmarted a hijacker...

With crime syndicates employing various new sophisticated tactics these days, hijackings continue to dominate all vehicle crime incidents in South Africa.

The latest crime statistics show that an average of about 60 vehicles are hijacked in our country every day.

This according to the Tracker Vehicle Crime Index, which reports that hijackings account for 55% of vehicle crimes with theft at 45%.

Emergence of ‘more sophisticated’ hijacking syndicates

“Crime sophistication varies provincially, usually linked to emerging crime opportunities, such as changes within regional transportation logistics,” Tracker COO Duma Ngcobo said.

“We are seeing the emergence of more sophisticated vehicle crime syndicates in Gauteng and escalating violence accompanying vehicle crime in KwaZulu-Natal,” he added.

The data also showed that business-owned vehicles stand nearly double the chance of being hijacked rather than stolen. This compared to personal vehicles which showed a 50-50 split.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Viral video points out top five hijacking hotspots in Durban

Banking app kidnapping on the rise

The worrisome trend of banking app kidnappings have seen a significant rise in South Africa over the last four years.

Hijackers’ modus operandi is to use the vehicle to basically kidnap the victims, who they then force at gunpoint to make transfers from their banking apps.

In a recent interview on Kaya FM‘s 959 Breakfast show, crime analyst Dr Chris de Kock explained that in some cases, the hijackers don’t even take the car. Instead, they solely use the vehicle to kidnap their victims and then abandon them along with the car in a different location.

“In an app kidnapping – where someone is forced to open their own profile on their own phone – there isn’t much one can do. It’s similar to someone forcing you at gunpoint to withdraw cash using your own card and Pin at an ATM,” Lezanne Human, an executive director at Bank Zero, told TechCentral.

ALSO READ: How to avoid being hijacked

Banking app ‘shakedowns’ can take many forms

These so-called banking app “shakedown” syndicates operate in a number of ways.

  • Some victims are forced to make payments into bank accounts outside of the country, which makes tracing the funds basically impossible for law enforcement.
  • In other cases, victims’ accounts are used to make online purchases both locally and across South Africa’s borders.
  • In yet another example, multiple digital wallet payments, or account transfers, are made to a local recipient by syndicate members holding the victim hostage. The criminals then embark on a withdrawal spree at ATMs as quickly as they can.

Beware of these three hijacking ploys

Vehicle crime syndicates in South Africa also use the following three methods to hijack unsuspecting motorists and with the festive season approaching, it is believe hijacking attempts are set to increase.

The drive-thru

This hijacking method which is similar to the driveway hijacking trend, involves two vehicles trapping a motorist in a drive-thru queue.

How to avoid becoming a drive-thru hijacking victim
A warning has been issued following the emergence of a hijacking trend which involves hijackers targeting customers at drive-thru restaurants. Photo for illustration: iStock

According to IOL, the hijackers work in two teams.

One “team” is stationed in a car in front of the victim’s vehicle while the second team is parked behind. The usual modus operandi involves an armed hijacker forcing the victim out of their vehicle.

ALSO READ: How to avoid becoming a drive-thru hijacking victim

The tap

The second trend involves criminals purposefully bumping into the victim’s vehicle. T

hey then flag the motorist to stop under the pretense of exchanging insurance information – only to steal their vehicle at gunpoint.

ALSO READ: Hijackings of Toyota bakkies have Centurion owners worried

The Good Samaritan

The last hijacking trend to be on the look-out for is called “The Good Samaritan”.

This involves a hijacker parked on the side of the road with a flat tyre. Once the victim stops to assist, the criminals pounce and steal the unsuspecting motorist’s vehicle.

ALSO READ: Watch: Cele is ‘on tik’, Twitter says, after he blames WC hijackings on potholes

Mzansi applauds man for outsmarting hijacker

In August this year, a TikTok video of an attempted hijacking of a group of people went viral for the quick-thinking driver’s reaction to the threat.

The footage shows a man attempting to hijack a vehicle while some people are busy packing their bags into the car.

The undeterred driver, however, can be seen blocking the hijacker’s path before outsmarting the criminal by throwing his keys onto the roof of a nearby building.

The would-be hijacker is left with no other choice but to flee the scene…on foot. Take a look:


Well done saps Brave of the owner to throw the keys over the roof

♬ original sound – muhammadvanker

NOW READ: WATCH: Two metro cops among 13 nabbed for truck hijacking

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