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ATM Machine Safety Tips

Posted Jan 11 2009 3:39pm

ATM machines are a great way to easily access your money, but unfortunately they are also the home to a lot of crime.  There are several important safety tips to keep in mind when approaching, using, and leaving an ATM machine.

Avoid walk-up ATM machines.  Most banks are doing away with walk-up ATM machines, opting for the safety and convenience of a drive-thru teller machine.  You are safer in your car with all the doors locked and only the driver side window down than walking up to a machine.

Be alert when approaching the ATM machine.  This is particularly important if the bank is closed at night.  Look for anyone hanging out in the parking lot, or near the teller machine itself.  If you see someone that looks out of place, leave the bank and return the next day.

Be wary of people trying to help you.  And be wary of people asking for help.  People like to hang out at ATM machines and ask for help with their card, or offer to help you with your card, etc.  There efforts are rarely noble.  Chances are they are stalking their next victim.  Don’t let it be you.

Check the card slot on the ATM machine.  Scammers have been know to rig ATM machines with a little sleeve that fits into the machine to capture your card, and a small camera disguised as a security camera to capture your PIN number.  The sleeve eats your card, you punch in your PIN and when you leave because the machine won’t return your card you’ve given crooks your card and PIN information.

Put away cash after withdrawal.  Stash the cash in your purse or wallet and leave the bank premises after withdrawing money.  Don’t dilly dally outside the car counting money or organizing the contents of your purse.

Are you being followed?  If you leave the ATM and notice someone following you, go to the nearest public place and park your car (grocery store parking lots are good, or even better, a police or fire station.  Crooks like to stake out ATM machines and follow people to their next destination to rob them of their cash.

Review statements.  Check your monthly statements to make sure the withdrawal is recorded correctly.  As with any technology, ATM machines can make mistakes and record your transaction in error.  Hang on to your receipt until the statement arrives and you verify everything is recorded correctly.

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