It is important to be aware of your surroundings when visiting any ATM. Beyond a physical presence, many thieves have learned ways to capture your information, to be used down the road to take your money. Below are a few tips that will help you prevent these incidences.
- Use an ATM which is in clear view and well lit.
- Beware of your surroundings.
- Check to see if anything looks unusual or suspicious about the ATM. If it appears to have anything stuck onto the card slot or key pad, do not use it. Never try to remove suspicious devices.
- Be cautious if strangers offer to help you at an ATM. Don’t allow anyone to distract you.
- Check that other people waiting are a reasonable distance away from you.
- Have your card ready in your hand before you approach the ATM.
- Avoid opening your purse, bag or wallet when you’re waiting.
- Put your money away immediately.
- Protect your PIN by standing close to the ATM and shielding the key pad with your other hand.
- Keep you PIN secret. Never reveal it to anyone.
- Don’t write your PIN on the card.
- Do not use obvious and guessable numbers for your PIN like your date of birth.
- Report lost or stolen cards immediately!
- Regularly check your account balance and bank statements, and report any discrepancies to your bank immediately.
- The typical ATM skimmer is a device that fits over the top of the existing card reading device. Since these devices are temporary they are typically attached to the ATM with some kind of adhesive tape. The devices are very similar to the real card reading devices.
Ways to detect an ATM skimmer
- Look around the ATM for places where a scammer could hide a tiny camera, such as a brochure rack.
- Take a close look at the keypad. Try to see if there is a fake overlay on top of it. Maybe the keypad looks thicker than usual.
- Look over the entire ATM for scratches, parts that don’t match in style, color or material. Scammers sometimes place a fascia (a large form-fitting mold) over the area of the original ATM.
- Try to move (wiggle) the card reader. If it moves, so should you — to another ATM.
- Cover your hands when you enter your PIN. It’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect yourself from a hidden camera.