Although ATMs create convenience for customers
and generate income or cost savings for banks,
they also allow access to criminals, who have
multiple methods of fraud in their arsenal—from
sophisticated gadgets that allow them to steal
personal information from a card when swiped, to
setting up and operating their own ATMs.
Unfortunately crime is a concurrent element of
modern society and it benefits from the same
technological advances that are created to open
Refrain from using your ATM / debit card
when shopping. Use cash or credit card.
If you have a check card, select "credit"
instead of "debit". Selecting "Credit"
requires your signature instead of using
your PIN to authorize your purchase. Major
credit cards have 100% Fraud Protection.
With a debit card, you may have limited
protection depending on how soon you notify
your bank about the fraud. You also cannot
cannot request stop payment on a purchase
you are trying to dispute. Another drawback
of a debit card is you do not establish your
Change your pin regularly. Make it a habit
to change your PIN regularly. This also
applies to your email and online bank
accounts as well. When you change PIN, do
not use your birth date and digits taken
from your telephone or Social Security
As much as possible, do not use non-bank
ATM machines as the risk of ATM theft scams
is higher than machines at your bank.
Start going to one bank branch and use their
ATM machine for all your future
transactions. This way, you can get familiar
with the machine (card slot or card reader)
and its surroundings (number of security
cameras and where it is located).
Another tip is find out the phone number
of the branch and its 24 hour service number
and save the number/s in your cell phone.
Before you use an ATM machine, check for
dubious devices like extra video camera
mounted to the ATM machine. This is
another type of ATM scam in addition to
skimming where thieves mount a wireless
video camera inside the ATM area so they can
watch you as you enter your PIN.
Check the card slot. Do you see a
plastic strip or film sticking out? Is there
anything glued to the card reader or cash
If your card is stuck inside the card
slot, do not leave the machine. Call the
branch or the bank's 24 hour service number
and report the incident by using your cell
let a stranger help you in retrieving
your ATM card. If somebody comes near
you and offers help, say NO and make sure
they leave you alone. This is another type
of ATM scam. The thieves insert a blocking
devise (a thin film inserted inside the card
slot so that your card gets trapped inside).
They come up to you and offer help. They
will ask you to enter your PIN a couple of
times. They may also hold the cancel button
while you enter your PIN. This is just their
way to memorize your PIN. Once you leave the
ATM area, they will come back and take the
glued film out. They now have your ATM card,
PIN and money.
Use your body or hand to shield the ATM
keypad from anyone standing behind you or
next to you as you enter your PIN. Do
the same if you decide to use your debit
card at the supermarket or department
stores. Don't let the store clerk and people
behind or next to you watch you as you enter
When you shop online, do not use your
debit card, if possible. Also, take note
that online shopping does not require you to
enter your PIN.
When you receive an email from your bank,
do not click on any link. If you are
being asked to update any information,
delete that email and open a new browser and
type your bank's website yourself instead.
It would be better if you delete your cache
and cookies before going to your bank's
website. When you're done checking your bank
account, delete your cache and cookies again
even if you're using your own computer.
Make it a habit to check your account
often. Check for any unauthorized
transactions and at the same time see to it
that the amount debited to your account is
Report any stolen or lost ATM card