Using an ATM: Staying Cautious and Safe

By: Onyinyechi Nneji0 comments

ATMs have brought significant convenience to many bank customers when it comes to cash withdrawal transaction. Cardholders now have significant flexibility on when and where they want to get their cash from an ATM. Given the high degree of convenience of using an ATM, it is easy to underplay the risks associated with using an ATM. We provide a few tips on safety and security when using an ATM and the vigilance cardholders should observe.

Physical environment of the ATM

1. It is important to be aware of the surrounding of an ATM and approach each ATM with a sense of alertness and the preparedness required for your personal safety and security.

2. Preferably use an ATM located within the branch of a bank as it will be closely monitored by bank officials, security details and possibly CCTV.

If you want to use an ATM outside the premises of a bank:

  • Use one located in a well-lit location especially at night. If the lights are out or the lighting poor, do not use the ATM.
  • Use one in a busy area, clearly visible from the street and surrounding area by passers-by as such visibility will serve as deterrent to would-be assailants and criminals.
  • Look out for security personnel patrol and check that the environment is monitored by CCTV.
    Scan the approach to the ATM and be conscious of anyone sitting in a parked car or loitering nearby. If you are alone or unaccompanied, do not use the ATM. Beware of suspicious persons, activity or circumstances.
  • Be conscious of the surroundings of the ATM throughout your transaction and cancel your transaction and leave the ATM immediately, even when in the midst of the transaction, if you observe anything suspicious.

3. Be sensitive to information on criminal activity, including but not limited to attempted or actual robbery incident, around an ATM site or surrounding environment and avoid such ATM.

Physical condition of the ATM

1. Check that the ATM is not looking too suspicious, vandalized, re-manufactured or looking as if it has been tampered with.

2. Check that the card reader is not looking unusual. If you are suspicious, use another ATM.

3. Check that no strange object is placed on the ATM. Such objects include skimming device, camera or remote reader that secretly steal your personal details and PIN may have been installed by fraudsters with a view to defrauding your account. If there is anything looking strange or unfamiliar to you, walk away from the ATM.

Cash handling at an ATM

You are advised not to count your cash while at the ATM or in general view of the public. Put your cash away immediately and if you must count your cash, do that in a secure place or when you get to you car.

If you are confronted after withdrawing your money

Give the money and don’t argue or start a fight. Your life is more precious than the money. Report the incident to the police. Your attacker may be an armed robber and your foremost consideration should be your personal safety.

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