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Thursday, December 3, 2009

ATM Safety Tips

ATMs are popping up everywhere. They can not only be found at banks, but also at shopping malls, convenience stores, drug stores, grocery stores, etc. The list goes on and on.

The presence of an ATM poses some potential safety threats. A would-be robber will obviously know an individual using an ATM will usually be leaving the machine with money. While protecting one's money is indeed important, what's more important is protecting your well-being. The following are some ATM safety and security tips. Take a few minutes to read them over and try to remember them the next time you pay a visit to an ATM, particularly one that is unfamiliar to you.

• At a drive-up ATM, keep all windows closed except the one you are using. Keep all doors locked as well. Keep the vehicle running. Watch in front, behind, and on the sides. If someone walks up to your vehicle, cancel the transaction and leave.

• If you exit your vehicle to use an ATM, lock your doors. When walking back, have your keys handy so that you can re-enter your car quickly.

• When approaching the ATM, be alert for anything or anyone suspicious in the area. If something just doesn't look right, leave.

• Never approach an ATM if the lights at the site are not working.

• Before you approach the ATM, have your card ready, know your code and have any slips or forms already completed.

• When using an ATM and someone approaches and gets closer to you than you are comfortable with, cancel the transaction and wait in your locked vehicle until that person leaves - or go to another ATM.

• Memorize your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Do not write it down on your card or carry it in your wallet or purse.

• Select a PIN that is different from other numbers in your wallet or purse, such as your birth date, address, social security number, etc.

• When using the ATM, stand directly in front of it, blocking the view of others. Don't enter your PIN if someone else can see the keyboard. As unusual as it may sound, criminals have been known to use high powered equipment to see PIN's. If your card is stolen or a false card is manufactured, your money then becomes vulnerable.

• Never accept offers of assistance with the ATM from strangers.

• When your transaction is complete, immediately take your property - card, receipt, money, etc., put them in your pocket, wallet, or purse and leave immediately.

• Do not stand and count your money. Count it later. Besides, if it is wrong, you cannot discuss it with the machine.

• As you leave the machine, keep your head up and be aware of your surroundings.

• Never tell your PIN to anyone. Likewise, never lend your card to anyone. Treat it like cash or a credit card.

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