Safety at ATM Locations
SAFETY CORNER is dedicated to providing you with tips for being safe in your personal life.
Many of us are accustomed to the convenience of ATMs. This month’s tip will serve as a reminder of how to use ATMs safely.
- Stay alert. Choose ATMs located in well–lit areas. Do not use an ATM which is near shrubbery or at the corner of a building since corners create a blind spot. Be aware of your surroundings such as people standing behind you or anyone sitting in a parked car nearby. Cover the key pad when entering your Personal Identification Number (PIN). When using a drive–up ATM, be sure to keep your engine running, all doors locked and windows up, both before and after the transaction. 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.
- Be prepared. Complete all paperwork in advance. When you have completed your transaction, do not count your cash out in the open and be sure to put your card away immediately. Never count cash at the machine or in public. Wait until you are in your car or another secure place.
- Walk away. Do not use an ATM that appears unusual looking or offers options with which you are not familiar or comfortable. Do not re–enter your PIN if the ATM eats your card, instead contact a bank official. If you notice anything suspicious use another ATM. There are devices which fraudsters attach over the card slots for “skimming” or gathering information from the magnetic strip on the back of the card, or they use transparent overlays on ATM keypads and tiny cameras hidden behind innocent–looking brochure holders, focused on where ATM users enter their PINs.
- Keep your receipt. It serves as a record of your transaction. Be sure to review your statements against the receipt and look for any other irregular or fraudulent activity. Your liability for unauthorized transactions depends on how quickly you report the loss. You risk unlimited loss if you fail to report timely.
Statistics show more men are attacked at walk–up ATMs. Women are attacked at drive–up ATMs. If you are confronted by someone demanding your money give it to them. Your safety is of overall importance.
By Lisa A. Tyler
National Escrow Administrator