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on your next visit to the ATM, keep these safety precautions in mind and proactively protect yourself from both types of crime at an ATM: identity theft and encounters with criminals.
- Keep your personal identification number (PIN) just that – personal. Never write it down or share it with anyone – not even family members. It’s also a good idea to update your PIN number once a year to keep it fresh.
- Be aware of your surroundings, particularly at night. If you see any suspicious activity, like a person waiting a few feet away or if there aren’t any lights around, avoid using that machine and find another in a more public area.
- Bring someone with you when using an ATM. If you can’t find a buddy, use an ATM that is located in a public area like a convenience or grocery store. This way, store personnel are there to help and you’ll have the video surveillance from both the store and the bank.
- Have your debit card ready to go as you approach the ATM. If you need to search through your purse or wallet, you’ll give criminals more of a chance to catch you off guard.
- Use your body to “shield” the ATM keyboard as you enter your PIN. If someone seems to be lingering behind you, walk away and come back later.
- Always take your receipts or transaction records with you. This will avoid any of your personal information getting into the wrong hands.
- Do not count or visually display any money you received from the ATM. After taking your money out of the ATM, immediately place the cash in your purse or wallet, and count it later.
- If you’re using a drive-up ATM, be sure passenger windows are rolled up and all doors are locked. If you leave your car and walk to the ATM, lock your car. It can also help to turn down the radio so you can be more alert.
- Check the ATM for a card skimmer. A card skimmer is a device attached to the payment terminal of an ATM that is used to steal your card information when inserting your card to withdraw money. You can often spot a card skimmer with your own inspection. If the card reader slot feels loose or is oddly a different color scheme than the bank’s branding, or the keyboard doesn’t feel right (too thick, buttons don’t press easily, etc.), these are often signs that a skimmer is in place