Alex O'Brien

Money & Banking

5 ways to protect yourself from ATM fraud

5 ways to protect yourself from ATM fraud

Nothing quite ruins a day like realising you’ve become the victim of ATM fraud. Scammers claim millions of dollars every year, often because people aren’t vigilant enough.

Here are five simple measures you can take to protect your money.

1. Be on the lookout for spy cameras

Most ATM scams consist of two parts, one that steals data from your card and the other that obtains your pin number, often through the use of hidden camera. If you notice any objects in and around the ATM that seem a little out of place, treat them with caution.

The prevalence of hidden cameras means you must always cover your hand when entering your pin. If you think there’s one around it may be best to withdraw elsewhere.

2. Be aware of signs of shoddy workmanship

Banks are generally pretty good with the maintenance and upkeep of their ATMs so if you see any signs of shoddy workmanship including off-colour plastic or inconsistent details, it could be a sign that this particular machine has become compromised.

Before inserting your card have a quick look around the machine for anything that feels a little off colour. If it doesn’t seem right it’s best to take your card somewhere else.

3. Keep your eye on suspicious characters around the ATM

Often fraudsters are not working alone, so if you’re withdrawing from an ATM you’re not familiar with be on the lookout for any suspicious characters lurking around. They may be in cahoots with the fraudsters who are looking to swipe your personal details.

4. Pay attention to the card slot

If anything seems a little odd about the card slot of the ATM, such as an irregular protrusion or inconsistent design it’s important to be wary of this. Fake card readers are often installed over the original slot of regular ATMs to capture your private information.

5. Pay attention to how the PIN pad feels

If the PIN pad feels loose, thick or spongey that’s not a good sign. Many fraudsters use a pin-pad overlay technique to capture and record people’s personal details. As with some of the other steps in the list if it doesn’t feel right you’re best going to another ATM.

Have you ever fallen victim to an ATM scam, or know someone who has? Do you think you’re going to start following our tips when you withdraw money?

Let us know in the comments.

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