10 Ways to Safeguard Your Cash
Avoid ATM scams with these savvy tips.
By: Shelly Verma, contributing blogger
ATM skimming is widespread nowadays. And what is that? It involves a card-reading gadget placed over the card slot on an ATM. This gadget is designed to confine and capture all the details of your ATM card. All the technology used in such transgressions has become so cheap and comprehensible that any savvy felon can set it up. The next time you venture out to your nearest ATM machine, look before you swipe. There may be a hidden camera that records your PIN code. There could also be a keypad overlay that captures the card’s info so the transgressor can create duplicate cards.
The world has almost 1.5 million ATM machines around the world, and ATM skimmers are available at lucrative rates online. Here are 10 must-have tips on safeguarding your bank account at the ATM machine.
1. Use the same ATM machines.
This keeps you familiar with the machine, and you’ll have an easier time spotting anything fishy.
2. Avoid ATMs off the beaten path.
Use ATMs that are near banks rather than in isolated areas. Thieves are more likely to install skimmers on machines that are less visited. Even the ATMs you find at gas stations are a big no-no, since they can be easily manipulated.
3. Bet on ATMs with video trackers.
ATMs with video surveillance are much safer, since this additional shield dissuades thieves from installing any kind of skimmers.
4. Follow your gut.
If anything on an ATM looks devious, don’t use it. If you see wires dangling, or the plastic on the card reader looks strange, or there is erosion around the card slot, stop immediately. Card or cash trappings need to be fastened or taped to the card reader or cash dispenser.
5. Say “bye-bye” to strangers offering assistance.
Thieves can dress as technicians, bank helpers or bank customers. Never trust any person you don’t know who tries to help you with your card, or tries to watch your transaction.
6. Give that ATM a good once-over.
If something looks awry, inspect it. Look for any extra cameras, aside from the essential ones.
7. Protect your PIN number.
Cup one hand over the keypad as you punch in your PIN.
8. Take advantage of “Cash-back” opportunities.
Grocery stores and pharmacies often let you take out cash if you pay with your debit card. It will save you the ATM fee, and keep your bank info safe.
9. Be wary of mirrors, leaflet holders, etc. around the ATM.
Thieves can hide cameras behind these devices. If you see these items, let the local branch, gas station, or store know.
10. Heed the warnings.
If you see extra signage or warnings posted on the ATM machine, you should probably just choose another one.
Shelly enjoys writing on various subjects including career moves, finance, insurance, and home improvement. You can find her writing on different sites.