ATM Theft – Be Alert.
ATM theft is something to be on your guard against each and every time that you use an Automatic Teller Machine.
doubt about it, these machines are a blessing. Imagine going back in
time to a world where ATMs did not exist.
If you needed cash you could
only obtain it during banking hours and then only from a branch of a
bank that you have an account with.
Now it is possible to obtain cash from numerous locations at any time of the day or night.
But for all the useful advantages of cash machines there are some dangers.
can use many tactics and scams involving ATMs to steal your cash. When
the scam involves your PIN (Personal Identification Number,) the thieves
can also commit other types of Identity Theft.
these machines are used quite safely the vast majority of the time, it
is necessary to keep identity theft and other crime firmly in mind
whenever you use them.
Be forewarned and forearmed, study the many
methods of theft from ATM’s outlined on this page.
ATM Theft Prevention – Listen To Your Suspicion.
Never use an ATM in any circumstance that you are unsure about. Someone unnecessarily hanging around the machine? Don’t use it.
there is often a bit of a line waiting to use a cash machine, that’s
normal. But if there is a character that, by their behavior, is out of
place, such as standing close to the machine but not actually using it,
that is cause for suspicion.
Don’t take a chance, look for another
Anything suspicious about the machine itself?
Never use an ATM in any circumstance that you are unsure about.
theft criminals are known to place false fronts over the machines or
parts of them.
These covers contain devices which can read the
information on your card.
Of course the crooks will also need your PIN number. They can get this
by installing a miniature camera in the false front which records you
entering your details.
Or, someone stands close and covertly watches you
enter the number, a practice known as ‘shoulder surfing’.
It has also been known for one of the gang to be some distance away using binoculars.
an alternative to using a camera to capture your PIN, it can be done by
placing a dummy keypad over the real one.
When you enter your number,
the device transmits it via a wireless signal to the crooks. The real
keypad underneath operates normally.
Within hours of obtaining your card information and PIN number an
identity theft gang can have a working copy of your card.
They will use
the copy to suck cash from your account to the max. They can also use
your personal information to bleed you dry in many other ways.
Sometimes the crooks send your card details to accomplices abroad and the cloned card is made and used there.
The cash machine appears to operate normally, it returns your card, dispenses your cash and issues a receipt. You are none the wiser that you have been scammed.
scam involving ATM theft is where thieves rig the card slot so that
your card gets stuck. There are various ways they can do this, most
involve inserting a specially formed piece of thin plastic into the
You arrive at the machine and insert your card, it will not go in all the way and you cannot pull it out.
comes one of the fraudsters posing as an ever-so-helpful citizen
waiting to withdraw cash. He, or she, sympathizes with your predicament
and tells you that the same thing has happened to him and that he knows
how you can free your card.
He may suggest that you enter your PIN
number and press cancel three times, or that you enter the number while
he holds down the enter button, or some variation of this.
ATM Robbery Prevention – Be on your guard at all times.
What ever the fraudsters suggests does not free your card of course, but he has taken note of your PIN number.
happens then? The crook may suggest that you go for help while he
kindly stays and keeps an eye on your card.
As soon as you are away from
the area he removes your card and is able to use it as he has your
personal identification number.
Alternatively he may tell you that he is sorry that his advice did not work and say he is leaving to use another machine.
Naturally you continue to attempt to remove your card for a while, but eventually you leave to get help.
identity crook has been watching and when you are gone he removes your
card. He does this by using a special tool or a thin pair of pliers.
ATM Theft Prevention – Being on your guard at the ATM.
Should you stop using ATMs? No, just be on your guard when you do use them.
Pick the cash machines you use wisely. Perhaps safest of all are machines inside banks and other financial institutions.
banks are closed it is best to use machines enclosed in a wall outside
the bank. If possible use a cash machine that has a security camera
trained on it. ( Thieves are unlikely to pick a machine covered by a
camera to fix false fronts to.)
If you can’t get to a machine that is
outside a bank use a machine that enclosed in a wall in a well lit area
that has heavy pedestrian traffic.
For ATM theft prevention, avoid using machines that are located in out of the way places or that are not firmly enclosed.
Do not use a cash machine if there is anything at all suspicious
about it. If the card slot is raised, tug on it before you insert your
Check if the keypad seems to be raised unusually high above the
surface of the machine.
Run your finger along the card slot, if
you feel anything unusual this may be a device inserted in the slot.
Inspect the slot visually, if anything raises your suspicions don’t use the machine.
Check if anyone is suspiciously loitering.
Always cover your hand
when entering your PIN.
Do not use the machine if there is any notice attached to it
advising you to do anything out of the ordinary, no matter how official
the notice may look.
Remember that whilst ATMs are used safely
most of the time, you owe it to yourself to be observant and on guard. A
little ATM theft prevention goes a long way in keeping you from
becoming a victim.
ATM Theft – Holdups And Muggings.
Of course, there is still the danger of being robbed at the ATM machine in the old fashioned way.
holdups and muggings do happen and it is something to always be alert
about. Muggers strike just as you are withdrawing cash.
be a quick snatch and run, or they could use violence, with or without a
weapon, to relieve you of your cash. They can also force you to make a
Muggings are one more reason to be particular
which cash machines you use. Using automatic teller machines in the
locations suggested above is safest, but keep in mind that nowhere is absolutely safe.
What should you do if you are the victim of an ATM robbery?
You have three options: fight, flight or comply. The last is most often
the wisest option.
As disagreeable as it is to hand over your hard
earned cash to a lowlife criminal, it is simply not worth endangering
You are far more valuable than cash.
Flight is rarely a safe option. If and only if, you are sure that you
could outrun the assailant — run towards people, at the same time
shouting for help and drawing attention to the situation.
though that muggers often have accomplices.
Don’t fight. Even if you are trained in Self Defense
it is not worth the risk.
If you suffer an ATM theft by a mugger phone
the police as soon as it is safe to do so. If you have your card stolen
during the robbery report it and have the card canceled ASAP.
New Methods Of ATM Theft.
The San Francisco Examiner published a story about thieves using glue to stick down the enter, clear and cancel buttons on cash machine keypads.
The customer, unable to complete a transaction
because of the stuck down buttons, will often leave the machine to go
into the bank to seek help. It is then the thieves strike.
customer is unaware that on these particular ATM’s they could use the
touchscreens to complete the transaction, but of course, the thieves are
As soon as the customer is in the bank the crooks use the screen to finish the withdrawal and make off with the customers cash.
To guard against this new type of ATM theft, check the keypad for any signs of adhesive, or tampering, don’t use the machine if at all concerned.
You can also test the enter, clear and cancel buttons by depressing
them before you insert your card. Use the touchscreen if available.
If you are unable to complete a transaction for any reason, never
walk away and leave your card in the machine. Use your cell phone to
call the bank, or ask someone else to go in to get assistance.
The Heat Is On.
Resent research by the University of California, shows that it is just possible that thermal imaging technology could be employed by identity thieves to steal your PIN number.
As you tap your number on to the plastic
ATM keypad you transmit body heat to the keys. Even if you shield your
hand heat traces are left on the keys which can, in the right
circumstances, be picked up by a thermal camera. The ID thieves would
then know which keys you have pressed.
However, it is very
difficult to determine in which order the numbers have been entered.
Plus, the heat traces do not remain on the keys long, after about a
minute it would be challenging to ascertain which keys have actually
This could only possibly work with an ATM keypad with plastic keys. Metal keys have a high conductivity, so the heat would dissipate far too quickly.
because of the above points, there are no known instances of criminals
using thermal cameras to carry out ATM theft. Also the current very high
cost of thermal imaging cameras may be a factor, but in the future, who
Did You Drop That?
You have punched in your PIN, remembering to cover your hand as you
did so, the machine is returning your card and your cash is emerging
from the slot.
You receive a tap on your arm. “Hey buddy!” a voice
from behind you says, “You don’t want to leave that there.” you look
down and there at your feet is a nice crisp ten dollar bill.
stoop down and pick it up – in the split second that stooping down took
your money and possibly also your card have disappeared. The fast on his
feet thief has disappeared too.
Once again – be on your guard at all times, don’t let ATM theft happen to you.
Identity Theft Prevention
Identity Theft On The Internet
Identity theft on the internet is a danger, but using your common sense
and taking all necessary precautions when you can greatly reduce the