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Lessons and stories from the front lines of fighting identity theft.

 

An Inconvenient Convenience: Protecting Yourself at the ATM

Apr 08

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Automated teller machines, better known as ATMs, might easily be the best invention since sliced bread. They’re everywhere you look, open 24/7, and a great convenience when you need quick cash on the spot. Using ATMs has become so common that the average consumer can sometimes forget how vulnerable they can be when conducting their transactions at a machine.

Whether you’re in your car at a drive-up machine, on foot on the street, or in a building’s lobby, you could be marked as a target by a criminal. With recent advances in technology, hackers have become more sophisticated in their tactics to steal funds and information; cameras and skimming devices can capture account and Personal Identification Numbers in a split second during even a simple transaction.

While the threat of unethical behavior from a small number of people shouldn’t put you off from using cash machines, it is always wise to adopt a safety-conscious approach when making any kind of cash withdrawal or deposit.

How can you stay safe? Consider these suggestions for protecting yourself at the ATM:

  • Only use ATMs that are located in well-lighted and busy areas, particularly at night. Try to stay clear of machines that have been vandalized or mistreated.
  • Keep your card safe.
  • Memorize your card’s Personal Identification Number (PIN). Never write the PIN down on anything in your wallet or on the card itself.
  • When selecting a PIN, avoid numbers and letters that relate to your personal information. For example, don’t use your initials, birthday, telephone or Social Security number. If you have such a number, contact your bank to have a new PIN issued.
  • Immediately report a lost or stolen card to your financial institution.
  • To help guard against fraud, keep your ATM receipts until you can cross-check them against your monthly banking statement.

It’s often said that convenience has a price. While this may be true, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice either your safety or hard-earned money for it. A few simple suggestions can save you time, money and give yourself peace of mind when banking in person at an ATM.

About the Author: Ash Cash is a business consultant, motivational speaker, financial expert and the author of “Mind Right, Money Right: 10 Laws of Financial Freedom,” and “What the FICO: 12 Steps to Repairing Your Credit.”

Follow Ash Cash on Twitter and Google+.

This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.

Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc., an Experian company. ©2015 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. All rights reserved.

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