ATMs are a great convenience, but depending on the ATM you choose to use, your safety could be at risk. You can avoid being a victim by using some good old common sense and by planning your ATM transactions in advance.
Here are some important security tips to remember:
- Treat your card like cash. Keep it in a secure place to prevent it from being lost or stolen.
- Memorize your PIN. Never write it down, write it on the card, or store it with your card.
- Always pay close attention to the ATM and your surroundings, especially after dark. Use another location or return at a later time if anything suspicious is noticed. If you are at an ATM when you see something suspicious, cancel the transaction, put your card in your pocket and leave immediately.
- Minimize the amount of time you spend at the ATM. Prepare your transactions (ex: endorse check, utilize online banking to check your balances or transfer funds) before your arrival at the ATM.
- Don’t select an ATM at the corner of a building. Corners create a blind spot. Use an ATM located near the center of a building.
- Use ATMs that are located in a public, well-lit location that is free of shrubbery and decorative partitions or dividers.
- Be accompanied by a person you trust after dark.
- Refrain from displaying cash, or counting your cash while at the machine or in public. Wait until you are in your car (doors locked) or in a secure place to count your cash.
- Check your ATM receipts against your monthly statements to guard against fraud.
- Be alert for the presence of a card skimmer on the ATM. A skimmer is a device that reads the magnetic data on your card as you insert or swipe your card into the ATM. Look for glue or tape residue, something that wasn’t there the last time your used the ATM.
- Immediately report any suspicious or criminal activity to the police and/or operator of the ATM.
- Maintain an awareness of your surroundings throughout the entire transaction. Be wary of people trying to help you with ATM transactions. Be aware of anyone sitting in a parked car nearby. When leaving an ATM make sure you are not being followed. If you are, drive immediately to a police or fire station, or to a crowded, well-lit location or business.
- Report a lost or stolen card at once. Even though your card cannot be used without your PIN at an ATM, remember that a debit or credit card could be used to make purchases with merchants. It is important that you notify your card issuer as soon as you notice the card missing; this can prevent or reduce any loss on your account and a new card can be issued to you promptly.
- If you notice fraudulent charges on your monthly statement or online banking account history, notify your financial institution immediately.