Remember the good ol’ days when ATM security meant making sure you didn’t get mugged. Well those days aren’t exactly gone. You still have to be careful. But the crooks are now using card skimmers, fake keypads and other devices to rob you. So how safe is that ATM?
ATM security nowadays means understanding how criminals are using technology to rob you. Its time to learn their methods and technology.
Remember that ATM machines do not have to belong to a bank or any financial institution. The can be privately owned by a person or business. There is even an organization of private ATM owners known as the National ATM Council. And you can find websites that show you how to set up your own network. Would you like to buy your own ATM? It’s that simple.
So how do you spot a fake or suspicious ATM?
- Avoid standalone ATMs in suspicious locations. Be alert to brand names you are not familiar with.
- A legitimate ATM machine is very secure. Since they contain cash they will be bolted and secured to a wall or floor. Free standing ATM machines that can be easily moved are to be avoided.
- Clever criminals will sometimes place their crooked ATM next to a legitimate ATM then place an out of order sign on the legitimate one. That could indicate that the one with the sign may actually be the working ATM. The out-of-order sign could trick you into using the criminal’s machine. Be aware!
- Check the card slot and key pad. Is either loose or out of place? That ATM may have been tampered with. Check the card reader slot and key pad by trying to remove it. Yank or pull on it. It may come off in your hand. If so you have found a skimmer. Legitimate ATM machines don’t have loose or removable parts.
- Look for a micro camera or any other out of place device used to record your PIN.
- Look for ATM machines with open or loose side panels or broken locks especially at drive through ATMs. Don’t use it and report a suspicious ATM to the bank immediately.
- Check your balances daily and make sure there are no suspicious charges related to ATM use. Report any strange activity immediately.
- Report suspicious activity around an ATM machine to the police.
Now you know