ATMs are a convenient and easy way to access your money, but they can be a thief’s paradise. There are multiple strategies criminals use to attempt to steal your money and information, but thankfully, there are also some things you can do to protect yourself.
Before heading to the ATM, memorize your PIN. Don’t write it down and don’t share it with anyone. When you’re approaching the ATM, have your card in hand and be ready to complete the transaction. If you’re looking through your purse or wallet for the card, you can get distracted and become an easy target for theft. Always be aware of those around you and keep an eye out for anyone or anything near the machine that strikes you as unusual, like a person lingering near the machine, getting too close, or looking over your shoulder. If you feel uncomfortable, just cancel the transaction and walk away.
ATM skimming is a tactic in which criminals install a skimmer device in the machine’s card reader. As you insert your card, the skimmer picks up and saves the information stored there. To access your PIN, cameras may be installed in the area or a phony keyboard may be put on top of the original. Survey the machine before inserting your debit card, and do your best to look for these hard-to-see, hidden devices.
Above all else, be observant and don’t be afraid to cancel the transaction if something doesn’t seem right. Reach out to us immediately if you suspect any attempted fraud at the machine or notice false charges on your account.