ATM fraud has been increasing throughout the world in recent years and criminals are using technology to leverage their advantage. In order for a criminal to rob someone using ATM fraud, they must have the victim's PIN number and ATM card number. This information is usually obtained through the use of covert hidden cameras and ATM card “skimmers,” but with a few guidelines and some personal security awareness you can greatly reduce your chances of falling victim to their schemes.
1) Use a reputable bank's ATM machine.
Small ATM machines in malls and convenience stores are notorious for attracting ATM criminals. They are usually not watched with a video camera and can be easily manipulated to steal debit card information. Although banks can still be victimized, many are becoming aware of the tricks being deployed by ATM skimmers and are building countermeasures to fight the fraud. Also, these financial institutions have security cameras that watch for suspicious activity.
2) Always cover the ATM number pad when inputting your PIN.
If a criminal is somehow able to acquire your debit card number, he will still need your PIN in order to withdraw cash. Criminals will deploy hidden cameras and hide them in places around or on the ATM in the expectation of capturing your PIN number. Would you have spotted the camera below?
3) Pay close attention to structural changes to your bank's ATM.
Many times in order to capture a victims PIN or card number, a criminal will overlay a normal ATM swipe or number pad with a device that looks similar but captures the victims personal information.
By having an ATM that you use and see on a regular basis, you are more likely to notice changes or modifications.
4) Use another card to get into a banks ATM lobby after hours.
Most banks, for the appearances of security, put card swipe readers on the outside of the bank to allow customers access to the bank's ATM at anytime. One might think that the only card that would allow entrance into this antechamber is your bank's ATM card, however most of the time any card with a magnetic strip will work.
Recently it has been found that criminals are starting to use these magnetic strip readers to steal ATM card numbers from customers entering the bank during off hours.
Instead of using your debit card to gain entrance into the bank, use your grocery or library card instead.
5) Check your account balances regularly.
Some ATM skimming devices are very sophisticated and extremely difficult to detect. If you frequent an ATM often, be sure to check your bank account on a regular and reoccurring basis. Although the bank will refund your account, getting stuck in a dire situation with no way to withdraw cash could be a major inconvenience.