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What You Need to Be Aware of When Useing an ATM

ATM Security

ATM (Automated Teller Machine) Security 

ATMs like a time machine extend traditional banking hours by dispensing cash and making other transactions available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At the beginning of 1974, there were only 1,656 operating ATMs nationwide. Today, online debit cardholders initiate approximately 12 billion ATM transactions per year at thousands of ATMs. More locations, more ATMs and users are coming online daily.

As electronic debit card transaction volumes continue to increase with the installation of more ATMs, the ATM user is presented with a whole new array of

ATM Security

ATM Security

security risks. On-premises ATMs (those typically located in bank lobbies) provide the most suitable and secure working environment for the consumer. The trend towards installation of free standing machines in shopping malls, in free standing kiosks in parking lots, supermarkets, and office buildings obviously presents a whole new array of security risks for ATM users.

Who tracks ATM crime?

Currently, major law enforcement agencies do not regularly keep track of ATM crime. Most assaults related to ATM usage are included in larger general categories for assault, battery and the like.

When is the risk the greatest, who are the victims, who are the perpetrators?

  • Most (60%) ATM robberies occur at night between 8:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.

    Credit Cards,Atm Security

    Credit Cards

  • Most robbery victims are women, who are alone when robbed. Most claim they never saw the robber coming.

  • The typical ATM robber is 25 years of age, works alone, and usually positions himself nearby waiting for a victim to approach and withdraw cash.

  • What should you consider when choosing which ATM to use?

  • Location, lighting, and landscaping are among the factors in determining how safe your chosen ATM is.

  • You should have high visibility of your surroundings.

  • Look for the use of convex mirrors, security cameras, minimal use of solid walls and blinds or any other items obstructing visibility.

  • Select ATMs near well-lighted parking areas.

  • Check for  “drive-by” visibility from nearby parking lots, walkways, and main thoroughfares.

  • Shrubbery should be trimmed to no more than of 24 inches above ground level. Trees should be “branch free” below the 6 foot level.

Being aware of the risks involved is your best defense against ATM crime. You can avoid crime be using ATMs at certain times and safe locations. Not using ATMs in poorly lit locations at night alone will deter crime.

Look around the area do you see a camera focused on the keypad? This could be someone trying to record your pin number.

Inspect the reader where you insert your ATM card, are there what appear to be extra parts? A thief could have placed a skimmer device that will read all of the info on your card.

There are new ways to separate you from your money being developed all the time. You should stay aware by monitoring the news for new scams. Talk to your local law enforcement to see what they are seeing in the area. Check with your Bank’s security department.

More information available from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)


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