Did you catch this ATM robbery prank-gone-wrong over the weekend? A group of young Australian guys calling themselves Reckless Youth on their YouTube channel filmed themselves faking ATM robberies.
Innocent bystanders quickly run to the aid of the “victim”, and in the prank’s final round, the prankster thief gets a new nose job (not for the fait of heart and NSFW).
We rely heavily on ATMs to get the cash we need to make our lives run. Unfortunately, some people take advantage of unsuspecting ATM users and either steal from them at the ATM, or use some type of skimming technique to capture their card and PIN information. These crimes happen everyday on average. Therefore, it’s important to practice good safety when using the ATM and when handling your debit card. Here are a few tips for safe ATM use.
ATM Safety Tips
Be Alert – Be aware of your surroundings and have a quick look around prior to pulling the debit card from your wallet. Take note of the other people hanging around. Also, look for any suspicious items attached to the ATM. Thieves have been known to attach fake keypads and card scanners to capture your information illegally.
Be Extra Cautious – If you notice anything or anyone out of ordinary at the ATM, don’t use it. If you’re in the middle of a transaction, and you notice a suspicious person, cancel the transaction, get your card, and leave. Try to only use the ATM when a friend is with you. Also, try not to use the ATM after dark, when most crimes occur. Use ATMs located inside stores, like CVS, Target, and 7-Eleven. These are definitely safer options for ATM usage versus out on the street.
Keep Your PIN Under Wraps – Don’t let anyone see you entering your PIN. Use your other hand to conceal it. Don’t allow anyone to help you with your transaction no matter how much help you think you need.
Count Your Cash Later – As a last precaution, don’t display and count your cash right when it’s withdrawn. Wait till you get home or to a safer place.
Drive-Up ATMs – If you’re in your car at a drive-up ATM, keep the car running and all the doors locked. Only open your window to quickly make the transaction.
Protecting Your Card and PIN
Beyond safety at the ATM, here are some tips for keeping your PIN and card safe. Like the tips above, most are common sense. But it’s good to have a refresher of these concepts.
Choose the Right PIN – Choose a PIN that’s easy to remember but not one that’s easy for a thief to figure out. Stay away from obvious numbers like 1234, birthdays, and the last four digits of your social security number. Be sure to keep your PIN to yourself. Unless you have a joint checking account, there’s never a reason to tell anyone else. Definitely never write your PIN down.
Shop With Who You Know – Only use your card at places that you trust, both online and off.
Review Your Activity – Be sure to periodically review your account activity for fraudulent transactions. You can do this online, or at the very least when you get your monthly statement.
Protect Your Card Like Cash – Lastly, treat your card just like cash. Never let it out of your sight and don’t display it for all to see.
Know Where to Go for Help
Finally, if your card is stolen or you suspect a fraudulent transaction has been made on your account, immediately contact your bank to let them know.