ATM Safety Tips to Combat Fraud

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation says that not all ATM crimes can be prevented and provided various self-defense and safety tips.

ATMs can become a source of identity theft and fraud, and not all ATM crimes can be prevented, there are self-defense and safety tips that can be followed, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

First, the agency suggests that bank customers protect their ATM card by keeping it secure, carrying only the cards you need and destroying old or expired cards.

In addition to taking care of the physical card, the FDIC suggests keeping your PIN number as private as possible. The agency says it’s best to memorize the number, not share it with anyone and assure that no one sees your PIN number as you are using the ATM.

"If a thief finds or steals your ATM card and your PIN, it's like you've opened up your bank account and offered free samples," Janet Kincaid, FDIC Senior Consumer Affairs Officer said in a statement on their website.

When using the ATM, the FDIC recommends avoiding dark or remote areas and walking away if there is something suspicious.

Michael Benardo, a manager in the FDIC's Technology Supervision Branch, gives these examples of fraudulent recording devices found at ATMs:

  • Unusual-looking devices attached over the card slots of machines for "skimming" or gathering information from the magnetic strip on the back of the card.
  • Transparent overlays on ATM keypads that can record PINs
  • Tiny cameras hidden behind innocent-looking brochure holders and focused on where ATM users enter their PINs.

"These are really just skimming devices that capture account information, and the only cleaning they're used for is to clean out someone's account," Benardo said in a statement on the website.

The FDIC warns that customers must be careful when withdrawing cash. After withdrawing, they suggest putting the cash in a pocket or purse. Then they suggest walking away fast.

“The idea is to give a would-be robber less time to target you and steal your cash, wallet or purse,” the FDIC says.

When using a drive-up ATM they suggest keeping the car running, locking all doe and rolling up all passenger windows.

If you notice anything suspicious the FDIC suggest reporting it to authorities of bank employees as soon as possible.

“The faster you report a problem, the greater your federal protections are,” the FDIC says. “Early notice also may be key in catching the crooks.”

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