Criminals use a number of techniques to steal money from ATMs, but this one is particularly interesting.
Without you being aware, thieves will drop a $20 bill on the ground just behind you. Then they watch as you enter your PIN number. As you wait for the ATM to release your card, they ask you if the money on the ground is yours. When you bend over to pick it up, they swap the card in the ATM slot with a fake card. They know it is unlikely that you’ll check the card to ensure it is yours.
They have the timing down perfectly, and now they have not only your PIN, but also your card. After you leave, they withdraw as much money as possible.
The following tips will help keep you safe when using ATMs.
Look around and be aware of your surroundings. If you notice any suspicious people in the area, or sittings on benches observing you, don’t use that machine.
Don’t use an ATM at the corner of a building since they create blind spots.
If possible, try to have someone else with you who you know and trust.
Use ATMs in the daytime and in familiar neighborhoods.
Avoid ATMs that are unusual looking or offer options that seem unfamiliar or make you uncomfortable.
Don’t count your withdrawal cash at the machine. Try to wait until you’re in a secure place such as your car.
If confronted with a criminal who tries to physically steal your money, just comply and protect your personal safety. Remember, losing money is not worth losing your life.