Unfortunately, the convenience aspect can compromise personal safety especially if you are distracted on not paying attention. Planning for an ATM withdrawal and applying common sense can help you avoid trouble.
- Be aware of your surroundings throughout the entire transaction like people sitting in a nearby parked car or someone offering to help you.
- Safeguard your PIN. Don’t share it with anyone. Don’t write it down. Don’t use your birthdate, last four digits of your phone number or other obvious numbers.
- If there are other people at the ATM to make a withdrawal, shield the keypad when entering your PIN number.
- Keep your car doors locked and windows raised, except for your driver’s window, when using a drive-up ATM.
- Minimize the time spent at the ATM by being prepared with your card ready, what you plan to do and do not count your money until you are in a safe place away from the ATM.
- Take your receipt with you and destroy it if you decide to discard it.
- Be aware that some thieves use skimming devices to steal account and PIN numbers. If something doesn’t look “just right”, consider finding another machine to use.
- Especially at night, pay attention to locations with adequate lighting and being visible from the street. Don’t compromise your safety just because it is convenient.
- After you have your money, pay attention to see if someone might be following you. If you are concerned, go to a nearby police or fire station or well-trafficked business and call the police.
- If you feel uneasy during a transaction, cancel it, remove your card and LEAVE.
There may be a time in the not too distant future when we don’t have a need for cash anymore. Until that time, paying attention to simple safety precautions can help protect us during the holidays and throughout the year.