ATMs and debit cards offer quick access to your money when you’re on the go. Most of us have come to rely on the convenience they provide, but it’s important to use caution to keep ourselves and our finances safe. To protect your identity and ensure your personal safety, it makes sense to exercise caution when using an ATM. The tips below are meant to make you aware that although rare, ATM crime can happen.
Follow these tips to help keep you and your money safe!
- Protect your ATM card as if it were cash. Report lost or stolen cards immediately.
- Safeguard your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Don’t give your number to anyone; don’t write your PIN on your card, avoid using numbers that are easily identified (birth date, etc.).
- Try to use ATMs with which you are familiar. Choose well-lit, well-placed ATMs where you feel comfortable. If you need to use an ATM late at night, ask a friend to accompany you.
- Before approaching the ATM, scan the surrounding area. Avoid the ATM altogether if it is too dark to see, isolated or looks unsafe. If there are bystanders loitering in the area, go to another machine or come back later.
- Be prepared to conduct your business as soon as you reach the machine. Have your ATM card ready in your hand. Do not dig through a purse, bag or wallet in front of an ATM or while you are in line. Secure your money immediately after the transaction. Count your money later, not at the ATM.
- Use your body to shield the screen and keypad before entering your PIN. Make sure other individuals in line stay a reasonable distance from you while you’re performing your transaction.
- Do not allow anyone to distract you while you are at the ATM. Be cautious if strangers approach you or try talking to you – even if your card is stuck or you’re having trouble with your transaction. If someone takes interest in your transaction, leave the area and report the suspicious behavior to the police.
- Never leave your receipt in the ATM. Discarded ATM receipts are a primary source of identity theft and account fraud. Shred receipts before discarding them.
- If you are using the ATM at night make sure there is nothing compromising your personal safety like overgrown bushes or poor lighting.
- Be wary of an ATM scam called “skimming, where thieves attach electronic devices to the ATM that are designed to capture your card information and PIN. If an ATM card reader appears unusual compared to other ATMs, use another ATM.
Remember, if your ATM card is lost or stolen; contact your credit union immediately. They will take the proper steps to ensure your finances are safe and assist you in getting a new card.