“ATM crime” encompasses two different categories. The first is when scammers will place devices on or in the ATM that will scan your card and steal account information. The second, more dramatic form of an ATM scam is when an assailant robs someone in the middle of a transaction. You can be forced to withdraw and hand over large sums or are otherwise subdued while the robber makes his own withdrawals. Although the ATMs at banks and credit unions are the most reliable way to avoid either of these scenarios, ATM security and safety tips can come in handy whenever you are using a walk-up or drive-up machine.
Banking Tips for Avoiding Account Theft/Scams
The first and most obvious banking tip to keep your account from being compromised is to keep your PIN secure. Do not write it down, especially not on your card, and do not use PINs that could be easily guessed, such as your birthday or last few digits of your phone number. If you have trouble remembering your PIN, know that there are some easy-to-remember numbers that are much harder for an identity thief to deduce, such as the house number of where you grew up or numbers relating to your parents.
When using an ATM, be aware of any elements of the machine that seem “off.” If the slot for your card feels loose or does not seem to match the rest of the machine, err on the side of caution and go elsewhere. If a machine seems to “eat” your card, call the bank rather than try and re-enter your information. The shape of an ATM is fairly standardized, so avoid any unfamiliar-looking machines or ones that offer options you don’t recognize.
Lastly, keep an eye on your monthly statements and follow up on any transactions you do not recognize.
Tips for Having Safe Transactions
The most effective tip for a safe ATM transaction is awareness and visibility. Do not use an ATM that is at the corner of a building since this creates a blind spot. A well-lit, visible ATM with minimal line-of-sight obstructions offers better security than one blocked by shrubs or dividers. If the ATM is in a separate enclosure, do not use it if someone has followed you inside. Ask the person to wait outside and, if they do not, leave.
Be aware of your surroundings, such as of anyone in a parked car who seems to be watching the ATM. If you feel unsafe or see something suspicious, cancel the transaction immediately. If you feel that someone is following you after you use an ATM, proceed to a visible, crowded area and seek security or police.
Minimizing the time you spend at a walk-up ATM is also a good way to reduce vulnerability. If you regularly use walk-up ATMs, consider keeping a stack of deposit envelopes at home and preparing your deposits ahead of time.
Use LUSO Federal Credit Union for Your ATM Banking Needs
LUSO Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperative dedicated to providing members with quality financial services and products. We at LUSO pride ourselves on serving the financial needs of our members in Wilbraham, Ludlow, Springfield, Chicopee, Westfield, and Hampden County, Massachusetts.
Feel free to contact our Ludlow branch toll free at 1-844-LUSO-FCU or our Wilbraham branch at 1-800-808-5876.