ATM machines have made it easier to withdraw money at your convenience. Instead of going to the bank, you must press a few buttons on the machine to get some cash.
Unfortunately, some of these quick and easy transactions come with a price. A few ATM users have experienced some level of ATM insecurity, discouraging them from pursuing ATM transactions.
As the world moves towards ATM withdrawals and online transactions because of the pandemic, ATM security is more important than ever. You don’t have to give up the convenience of using ATMs!
Here are a few things to remember to keep every ATM transaction safe and secure:
1) Time and Location Are Everything
ATMs may allow you to dispense cash in the middle of the night, but that doesn’t mean you should do so. Crimes like theft are more rampant at night.
If you don’t have a choice, select one in a well-lit area with decent foot traffic. Ideally, it should be somewhere with a door, so you’re sure no one will grab your wallet as you take out your card.
This is also why you should avoid poorly lit and secluded ATMs. Be aware of any blind spot where a criminal may come from to attack you.
2) Go to Your Bank’s ATM Machine
It may be a little out of your way, but it might just keep your card details from being stolen. We’ve all heard stories of ATMs at malls and other public places getting tampered with. Do you want to take the chance of potentially using one of those machines?
If there’s no bank near you and you don’t have a choice, you should actively guard yourself against various tampering methods that hackers employ:
- Pinhole cameras. These are extremely hard to spot and are designed to steal your pin as you enter it on the pad. Cover the pad with your hand so they won’t see anything on the camera.
- Lebanese loops. These trap your card inside the ATM using a small plastic device inserted in the machine. Then, they wait for you to leave before getting your card. If the card slot seems blocked or loose, don’t use it at all costs.
- PIN pad overlays. These are placed on top of the real ATM pad so they can capture your pin. Look for a thick or sponge-like consistency, as it could signify the machine has been compromised.
3) Keep Your PIN to Yourself
And by that, we mean never write it down or save it anywhere. The only way to keep it safe is by keeping it inside your head.
So no matter how you trust someone, don’t tell them your PIN either. This isn’t because they may drain your account. But even though you’re completely sure they won’t do anything you don’t authorize, you’ll never be confident about how seriously they take the matter.
Don’t use the same PIN twice. That would be like creating a master key to all your financial information. You must also change it regularly just in case someone’s trying to get into your bank account.
4) Bring a Friend With You
You should never tell anyone your PIN, but having a friend can be helpful while you’re withdrawing cash. They’ll serve as your second set of eyes and your lookout as you focus on finishing the transaction.
This is useful if you can’t find an ATM in a crowded area, as criminals are also least likely to attack someone with a companion.
5) Don’t Count Your Money at the Machine
We know that you want to ensure the entire amount is there. But the odds that someone would grab your cash while you’re counting are higher than the machine dispensing the wrong amount.
Especially in a public area, you may unknowingly make yourself a target of theft. So instead of counting, put the money inside your bag as soon as it’s out of the dispenser.
You Can Make All Your ATM Transactions Secure!
By keeping all these tips in mind, you’re minimizing physical and financial vulnerability. If you’d rather not deal with the risk, explore other methods of getting your money. Stay safe!