Using an ATM puts you in a vulnerable position. You have your back to other people, so you can’t see whether someone is watching over your shoulder or is about to rob you. Whether you are making a deposit or withdrawing money, someone else may have designs on relieving you of it.
While you shouldn’t be solely responsible for your safety, your choices could make a difference in the outcome of your trip to the money machine. The risk isn’t only to losing your money, but also to you since the robber could use physical force, and you could suffer serious injuries.
What you can do to increase your chances of a safe transaction
Using an ATM has become so common that you may not give much thought to your safety beyond making sure no one sees your PIN number. However, you should think about your personal safety, and taking the following steps could help you remain safe:
- If you look around and don’t feel comfortable, trust your gut. Are there other people there, and is anyone standing too close and paying too much attention to you?
- If someone offers to help you with your transaction, be wary of that person.
- If something about the machine doesn’t look right, it may not be. It might be a good idea to find another ATM since thieves use card readers, cameras and other equipment to steal your data.
- If you can, use an ATM you have used in the past. Several visits to the same location can help you identify if something isn’t right this time.
- Use an ATM in a well-lit and populated location since this usually deters a would-be criminal.
- If you can use a secure ATM booth rather than one just on the street, do it since no one else can be in there with you. You can safely stow your card and cash before leaving.
- If possible, use an ATM inside a bank, which is much more secure.
- Be prepared. Have your card out and spend as little time at the machine as possible.
- If you use a drive-thru ATM, pull as close as possible so you don’t have to open your door. Lock your doors and keep the other windows of your vehicle closed.
- Don’t stop to count your money. Instead, put it away and count it later in a more secure location.
Following these tips could prevent you from suffering an attack at an ATM. If they don’t, you would benefit from finding out what legal options you have to pursue compensation for your injuries and financial losses.