There you are, standing in front of that ATM back to the world. You’re a prime target for criminal.
The Electronic Fund Transfer Act: By law, your bank must reimburse you for any unauthorized withdrawal, minus $50, as long as you report the unauthorized activity right away. What this means is that you’re covered if a thief steals your card and wipes out your account. You are also covered if you are forced at gunpoint, to withdraw money from your account.
Here are a few tips to help you protect yourself:
1.) Always check for a surveillance camera! This may help to identify the criminal if you are assaulted.
2.) NEVER write your Personal Identification number on your card. This number should only be known by you. If a criminal gets your card, you want to make it a chore to get YOUR money.
3.) If at all possible, go to an ATM with another person, or find one that has several people around it. A busy street is a great example. A thief is less likely to approach you if there are several witnesses.
4.) Avoid ATMs that are shielded by bushes, walls or other obstructions. These ATM’s create a perfect environment for a thief to hide.
5.) NEVER, ever give your PIN to a stranger. If the stranger claims to be a person of authority, I promise you…they aren’t telling the truth. NOONE has the right to ask for your PIN at an ATM!!
6.) If you decide to use a drive-up ATM, ALWAYS make sure your doors are looked before pulling up. Don’t make it easy for a criminal.
7.) If you have an option, go to an indoor ATM (At a gas station, or grocery store). There are typically more people around in case of a confrontation.
8.) If you are attacked, report it right away! The sooner you contact the police, the better chance you have of them locating the criminal. Most “Muggers”, are on foot.
9.) Always be aware of your surroundings. If they make you nervous, find a different ATM. Better safe, then sorry.
By following these simple steps you can protect yourself from not only financial loss, but personal injury. If you have the option, I highly recommend you stopping by the ATM during the Daylight hours. Statistics have shown that the majority of ATM crimes happen when the sun goes down.