ATM Safety And How To Protect Yourself
Withdrawing cash from an ATM is convenient, but you are often more vulnerable than you’d be if you went into a bank branch. Thieves may target ATM users, especially when there aren’t a lot of people around. While you don’t need to avoid ATMs altogether – you should be very careful and follow a few tips to protect yourself. From using planning techniques to equipping yourself with self-defense tools, here are some ways to protect yourself at the ATM:
1. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Let’s say you’re in a hurry, stopping by an ATM on your way to the store while you talk on the phone. It would be easy to simply jump out of the car with your debit card in one hand and your keys in the other and ignore what’s going on around you. Most of us have been there. To keep yourself safe, however, you should always assess your surroundings. Get off the phone so you’re more alert. While you’re at the ATM, keep an eye out for extra cameras that don’t belong or a card slot that seems unfamiliar – it could be a skimmer put in place by someone who wants to clone your card.
2. Don’t Dilly Dally
Get down to business at the ATM. Fumbling for your card in front of the machine makes you vulnerable and takes your attention away from what is happening in the vicinity. Take your card out while you’re still in the car so you approach the machine ready to make a quick transaction. Count cash only once you’re back in the safety of your locked car.
3. Shield the Screen During Use
Stand strategically while you’re at the screen so that the people behind you can’t see you entering your PIN. If the PIN entry is on the screen, cup your hand around the PIN pad to hide your entry. The less that people nearby can see about your transaction, the better. Avoid letting anyone into an ATM vestibule with you whenever possible.
4. Bring Self-Defense Weapons Along
Prevention can keep you safe at the ATM most of the time, but some thieves won’t be deterred by seeing that you’re aware of your surroundings and working quickly. To that end, being equipped with some self-defense weapons at the ATM keeps you safer. Many pepper spray models can be attached to your keychain, so it’s simple to keep them on hand as you handle your banking at an ATM. You may even want to consider carrying a taser gun when you need to retrieve cash after dark.
5. Treat Your Card Like Cash
Many people make the mistake of handling their card differently than they would cash. Keep your card in your hand whenever it’s not in the ATM – don’t set it on the machine while you count money or look at your receipt because you could forget to grab it before you walk away. And, just as you’d count the cash handed to you, keep your ATM receipt and follow up with the bank if you see any suspicious activity on your account. When a thief uses an ATM skimmer to clone your card, they may take small amounts from your account at first, so it’s important to be diligent.
ATM safety is about being prepared. Have your card close at hand at all times, never approach a darkened ATM if you don’t feel comfortable, and put your cash away immediately. If you have questions about the best way to arm yourself with self-defense weapons for women or how to choose pepper spray, contact The Home Security Superstore today for help.