ATM Safety Tips
Dec 27, 2021
Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are a wonderful convenience that allow you access to your bank accounts. However, it is very important to be cautious before putting your ATM card into a machine’s card reader or your account information could end up in the wrong hands!
Scammers may try to skim personal financial data through a phony card reader called a skimmer that can be disguised to look like part of an ATM. This attachment collects card numbers and Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) codes to use them in counterfeit cards that will give the scammer access to your accounts. Avoid becoming a victim of this type of fraud by always approaching an ATM with a heightened sense of alertness and caution. There are telltale signs that should prevent you from inserting your card:
- The ATM looks as if it’s been altered.
- The card slot feels loose.
- The card slot is thicker than usual.
- The card slot is colored differently.
- The keypad is too thick or is colored differently than the ATM.
Although banks do everything in their power to ensure a safe environment at an ATM, there’s no substitute for cautious customer behavior to prevent being scammed, reports the American Bankers Association (ABA). Surveillance cameras, enhanced lighting, enclosed vestibules, and withdrawal amount limits are security measures that reduce the incidence of fraud and theft, but there are safety tips you could implement to prevent unauthorized access to your finances. These are among them:
- Keep your PIN private. Do not share it with anyone and make sure to change it every year.
- Be aware of your surroundings, especially at night. If there are people lurking in the area, do not use the ATM.
- Don’t fumble for your ATM card. Have it ready to use in your hand as you approach an ATM.
- Shield your PIN with your hand when you insert it. Sometimes thieves attach a tiny camera to an ATM to capture your PIN, so foil their attempts.
- Take receipts and transaction records with you.
- Immediately put your cash away. Don’t take the time to count it until you are in a private space such as your home or car.
- Make sure all doors and passenger windows are locked when using a drive-up ATM.
- Be cautious when using a non-bank ATM such as one located in a restaurant or store. These ATMs are not controlled by your bank and may be more at risk for fraudulent activity.
Enjoy the convenience of using an ATM but be sure to take these simple precautions to maximize the security of your transactions.