The holidays will soon be upon us, and with that is a lot of shopping. So it should be no surprise that people will be using ATMs in record numbers this holiday season. With such a plethora of potential victims, scammers and thieves are sure to be out in large numbers as well. Here are some pointers so that you can practice ATM safety and keep the Holidays happy!
Pick Your ATM Wisely
No matter if you are a small lady or a large linebacker, one thing you will want to do is to pick a spot that is well lit and with open view to the surrounding area. After all, we are talking about a place where money spits out of the wall, and this could definitely attract those opportunists of a questionable nature. By staying in a more open area, you can quickly survey your surroundings without having someone lurking around the corner or behind a tree, ready to pounce on you once the funds are acquired.
This also lets others see if some harm does fall to you. Sure, most ATMs have a camera that could be useful after the fact, but in the case of misfortune having potential immediate help cannot be understated. Thieves hate witnesses, so try to have some if possible. But not too close, and our next topic talks about that aspect of ATM safety.
Guard You Card
When you go to use an ATM, don’t be afraid to flash that dazzling smile.But don’t flash your card to everybody around you. Today’s cell phones have some impressive pixel depth, and even a casual looking picture snap can be zoomed in to reveal a lot of detail – perfect for lifting card data for use later. Keep the card covered until use, and be sure to hold on to it as you go to swipe it or insert it into the machine. But before you do, read our next point on ATM Safety.
Test the ATM Machine
ATMs are relatively solid pieces of equipment and are designed to set out in a variety of locations. For this reason, most ATMs are not built with easily removable components. But thieves that make card skimmers to illegally read your card don’t have access to the ATMs internals, so their equipment usually just sits on top of the actual device.
This makes it easier to doublecheck for foul play – just test the ATM with a quick tug or wiggle. If you find that it has movement (or even comes off) with just a little pressure, move on to the next ATM location. Even if it is a legitimate ATM with mechanical issues, you may want to avoid using that particular machine out of caution – it might be that the money dispenser is faulty as well.
You should also use your eyes when testing a machine for AMT safety. If there are multiple ATMs at a location and one has additional components or a different card scanner, be on your alert. Look for color differences in hardware or parts that look much newer than the rest of the ATM. If it looks suspicious, it probably is.
When It Comes TO ATM Safety, Be Prepared
The last tip we want to mention about ATM safety is to be prepared to quickly conduct your business and move on. The longer time you spend at an ATM, the higher the chances are that a thief could spot you as a potential victim. And anything you have to do at the ATM serves to distract you from the situation, making it less safe. So have your card ready, any deposit slips filled out, and already have the immediate area surveyed before you walk up to the ATM.
The holiday season is just getting underway, and by practicing a little ATM safety, you can make sure that it stays a bit happier for you. Just remember to be alert, check the equipment, and be prepared. Now, if you will excuse me, I have a couple of lists to check and see who’s been naughty or nice this year.
When he is not writing on his wife’s blog or has his head buried in software code, Greg Chaffins can be found celebrating nerdy things on his own website, NerdBeach.