Since they began appearing in the early 1980s, ATMs have become a routine part of our financial lives. But don’t let familiarity give you a false sense of security: you still need to protect yourself. Follow these do’s and don’ts:
- Do have your card ready before you approach the ATM. While you are fumbling with your wallet, you are easy prey for a thief. Count and put any cash away before you leave.
- Don’t walk away with the cash in your hand.
- Don’t let anyone see you enter your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Use your body to shield the transaction. If you need to write down your PIN, disguise it as part of a phone number or street address.
- Do use ATMs inside open businesses whenever possible. Avoid using a street ATM after dark, but if you must, choose one that is well lit and not surrounded by tall bushes, décor, or dividers.
- Do trust your instincts. If things don’t feel right, leave immediately.
- Do not use machines that are unusual looking or offers options with which you are not familiar with. There are machines that thieves stick on top of ATM machines called skimmers that steal your banking information.
- Don’t argue or fight with a robber. Note the robber’s description and give the robber the money. Then call 911 as soon as possible.