ATMs have become part of our daily lives and they save us in many ways. But beware, they are far from harmless. They are even the perfect target for many criminals. Today, methods of theft from ATMs are very sophisticated and it is imperative to take certain precautions before withdrawing your money safely.

As scammers get more inventive, you must be very vigilant and familiarize yourself with their malicious techniques to avoid their traps. Here are the best tips for protecting your bank account and getting your money out of the counter without unpleasant surprises.

A fake keypad in an ATM

A fake keypad in an ATM. Source: spm

Today’s criminals are better organized and more creative than ever. Beware, ATM attacks and scams range from the most simplistic methods to more sophisticated and very difficult to detect techniques. Criminal gangs are everywhere and fraud affects many ATMs. Although the ATM machine in front of you may seem ordinary to you, it may have already fallen into the hands of experienced criminals who use special traps invisible to the naked eye to steal your money or recover your sensitive data.

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You have no idea what thieves are capable of! Here are some examples of scams closely related to withdrawing money from ATMs.

  • Replacement card reader.
  • Hidden camera.
  • Gray box above the screen.
  • Fake overlay keyboard.
  • Data transmission by SMS.
  • Card reader via a camera attached to the panel.
  • Headphone jack.
Withdraw cash from ATM

Withdraw cash from ATM. Source: spm

Therefore, when using an ATM, before even considering entering your code to withdraw the tickets, you must be absolutely careful and take the following precautions.

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  • Examine the ATM carefully before inserting your card: look for a potential camera or skimming device. This is an advanced system that reads your ATM card to communicate data to thieves. It is often in the form of an insert added to the slot where the credit card is inserted.
  • Visually check for any suspicious signs of tampering. Some clues include misaligned parts or a slightly weathered machine with dents, scratches, visible holes, faulty components, sticky residue, or abnormal resistance when pressing keys on the keyboard. Anything that looks atypical, unusual, or questionable near the slot or on the keyboard should alert you. So always be on your guard!
  • Of course, it goes without saying, never let anyone peek at your ATM transaction. Check carefully for any prying eyes around you before entering your PIN code. Block the ATM screen with your body and, whether it has a physical or on-screen keyboard, use one hand to enter the PIN and the other to cover the area.
  • If possible, do not withdraw large sums of money at once from an ATM. If you want to get large amounts, it would be better to split the withdrawals into two or three separate visits to the ATMs (do not split the withdrawals too many or the bank may prevent them due to a suspicion of fraud).
  • When withdrawing cash, put the banknotes immediately in your wallet, purse or pocket. Contrary to the oft-repeated conventional advice, with rare exceptions, it is best not to count cash received from an ATM on the spot while you are still there. The chances of the ATM making a mistake are minimal compared to the increased risk of theft by counting your money in a public place. And if, by chance, after checking discreetly in the car or once at home, you find that a few banknotes are missing, you can explain this delay in reporting to your bank. These organizations are generally understanding since they are aware of the security risks at ATMs.
  • Don’t ask for a receipt on the spot, you can ask for it to be emailed to you (if the ATM offers such a feature) or take it with you. Never leave ATM receipts behind.
  • If you are somehow the victim of a robbery, do not try to fight with this person who may be potentially armed. Give him your money, don’t risk your life for a few tickets! As soon as he leaves, call the police. If the thief tells you to flee, leave and contact the police after you get to a safe place.
  • Stop misconceptions and popular beliefs! Be aware that entering your PIN backwards will not summon the police, no matter how many times you have read this unfounded claim on the internet.
  • Ideally, if you can, go to an ATM inside a bank during business hours. After opening hours, prefer distributors in a shopping center where it is teeming with people.
  • Finally, also try to use ATMs during the day, as most thefts happen at night. Statistically speaking, you are much more likely to be robbed at night than during the day. If you have no choice but to withdraw money in the evening, always go to an ATM where there is light around it. Absolutely avoid the dark alleys where the counters are isolated.

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