Staying Safe While Using ATMs

While high-tech crimes like skimming and jackpotting have become prevalent at ATMs, the fact that people also can have their money stolen through forcible means during withdrawals from ATMs should not be overlooked.

While there are no definite statistics that report the number of robberies at ATMs, the FBI noted that the number of bank robberies exceeded 4,200 in 2016. This includes ATMs, but only those on the property of a financial institution. No numbers are available for ATMs located in convenience stores or other locations away from a financial institution.

Mastercard®, the credit card brand used by RBFCU members, provides the following ATM security tips for keeping safe while conducting transactions:

Observe your surroundings before using an ATM

If the machine is obstructed from view or poorly lit, visit another ATM.

Be watchful of someone peeking over your shoulder

Shield the screen and keyboard so anyone waiting to use the ATM cannot see you enter your PIN or transaction amount.

Put your cash, card and receipt away immediately

Count your money later and always keep your receipt.

If you see anyone or anything suspicious, cancel your transaction and leave immediately

If anyone follows you after making a transaction, go to a crowded, well-lit area and call the police.

Keep visitors to a limit

When using an enclosed ATM, avoid letting strangers follow you inside.

Don’t let your car give you a false sense of security

When using a drive-up ATM, make sure all passenger car doors are locked and windows are up as much as possible.

Take the keys with you

Do not leave your car unlocked or engine running when you get out to use an ATM.

Plan your ATM activity ahead of time

While many ATMs are available 24 hours a day, some may be open only during local business hours. To be on the safe side, plan ahead.

Understand what “jugging” is, and how to recognize it

“Jugging” involves assailants who sit in a parked car outside a financial institution or an ATM location and watch people exit with cash envelopes (or other obvious money containers). They follow the person with cash as they drive home or to another location where the victim is in a less crowded or less visible location before they attempt to steal the cash. Keep your cash concealed at all times after leaving your financial institution or ATM.

Notice the condition of the teller machine

Give some attention to the ATM before you insert your card. Devices can be installed by fraudsters that can capture your private information, such as your PIN. This is unauthorized and it is a criminal offense when the individual is caught. Protect yourself. If anything with the ATM looks out of place or if it has trouble accepting your card, go to another location. Inform the owner of the ATM that you believe there is a problem.

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