Take precautions and reduce risk
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have provided convenience to bankers for decades. Now you can easily conduct almost every banking transaction 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and a walk or drive up the computerized machine. Just as popularity has grown among bank customers, it has also risen among criminals. There are people with bad intentions looking to prey on ATM users. Here are 10 tips to help keep you safer:
1. Use in well-lit and busy areas
Only use ATMs situated in well-lit and busy areas. If possible, use an ATM located indoors at an establishment that is actively open for business.
2. Be aware
Be aware of your surroundings, look around when you walk up to the ATM or exit the ATM. Make sure you close the entry door completely when you use an enclosed ATM, do not open locked doors for others while you are making your transaction. Authorized customers should have their own access. Be aware of anyone sitting in a parked car nearby.
3. Keep doors locked at drive-up ATMS
At drive-up ATMs, be sure passenger windows are closed and doors are locked. Keep the engine running and leave enough room to between your car and the one ahead of you in the event that you have to depart. When leaving, check that you are not being followed, if you suspect you are please drive immediately to a police or fire station, or to a crowded, well-lighted location or business.
4. Never accept help from strangers
Be careful of people trying to help you with ATM transactions and never accept help from strangers. Regardless how friendly someone may appear you should never reveal your PIN. And don’t let people to look over your shoulder as you enter your PIN. Shield your PIN as much as possible.
5. Check for false fronts
Check the machine for false fronts over the card slot and for anything that looks unusual. Criminals try to copy, or skim, your details and sometimes use a small camera inside the hole in the wall or above the keypad to capture you entering your PIN. *
6. Memorize your PIN
Memorize your PIN and never write it on your card.
7. Avoid wearing expensive accessories
Avoid wearing expensive jewelry, watches, sunglasses, or clothing like furs when you go to the ATM. This makes you a more attractive target for an assailant.
8. Don’t count your cash in public
Do not count cash at the machine or in public. Wait until you are in your car or another secure place.
9. Do not linger
Expedite your transaction and do not linger. Avoid using the ATM for multiple transactions that will lengthen your stay, especially at night. Prepare all transactions and endorse checks prior to your arrival at the ATM.
10. Watch your bank statements
Watch your bank statements carefully, including balances and withdrawals, and immediately report any problems to your bank.
Lastly, the general consensus from law enforcement encourages that if you are involved in a confrontation with an assailant, comply, do not resist or risk your life over money.
*A look at fraud
And a recent FICO study reports that the number of compromised ATMs in the U.S. increased dramatically at 546% from 2014 to 2015. This was due in large part to nonbank-owned ATMs, which accounted for 60% of ATM fraud in 2015, compared to 39% in 2014. The New York Times report, “Most ATM fraud occurs through “skimming,” a process in which criminals install an illegal card-reading device inside of ATMs to steal card numbers and record keypad entries to get PIN numbers, and then duplicate cards for sale and use.”