At Security First Federal Credit Union, our members’ and customers’ safety when using ATMs is paramount. Nowadays, we rely on accessing our funds and completing financial transactions with a debit card and credit card from anywhere in the world, including drawing cash from ATMs. However, with new technology and scammers on the rise, ATM fraud has become equally as rampant. To help you stay safe while using an ATM, no matter where you are. To ensure your safety, we encourage you to use personal caution and increased situational awareness when using ATMs to prevent becoming a robbery, fraud, or identity theft victim. Here are 10 tips to help you keep your ATM transactions completely secure.
1. Keep your PIN private
Your personal identification number should always be kept personal. Don’t share this number with anyone, and don’t write it down anywhere or keep it stored in your phone. It’s also a good idea to choose a unique PIN for all your accounts and to change your number once a year to keep it fresh.
2. Check the ATM for a card skimmer
Scammers are experts at hiding their tracks and often do so by attaching a card skimmer to the payment terminal of an ATM. The skimmer fits right over the card slot and will read the card information as soon as it’s inserted. It is then passed onto the criminal, who may be hiding just a few hundred feet away. Sometimes, a skimmer is instead placed over the keypad to pick up the PIN. Look for a skimmer by checking to see if the card slot feels loose, is colored differently than the rest of the machine, or if the keypad is too thick or looks newer than the ATM.
3. Bring a buddy
A lone target is always more vulnerable. If possible, and especially if you’re using an ATM late at night, bring a friend along.
4. Be aware of your surroundings
As you use the machine, it’s crucial to be aware of your surroundings and to look for anything suspicious, like characters lurking nearby or dark cars parked in the area for far too long.
5. Use your body as a shield
Never let an ATM you are using be in easy view of a criminal. Stand close to the machine to block it from view and cover the keypad with your hand while you input your PIN. This way, no one will be able to steal your information just by watching you complete your transaction.
6. Have your debit card ready to be used
Make sure you can remove your card in just a few seconds when you reach the ATM. Those precious few moments of rummaging through your purse or wallet until you find your card can give a criminal the time they need to make their move.
7. Put away all cash as soon as you complete your transaction
If you’re making a withdrawal, be sure to move all cash out of sight as soon as the machine spits it out. Have your wallet or an envelope ready so this takes as short a time as possible. Never count cash in public; you can check that you’ve received the right amount when you’re safely in your car.
8. Lock all doors and roll up passenger windows when using a drive-thru ATM
If you’ll be remaining in your vehicle to complete your transaction, keep it as secure as possible.
9. If you suspect foul play, leave immediately
If something, or someone, looks suspicious, cancel your transaction, grab your card, and leave the area as soon as you can.
10. Be sure to take your receipt
Don’t leave any evidence of the transaction you just completed.