You’ve probably heard of ATM fraud, and you may even know that it’s on the rise, but did you know that, according to FICO, ATM compromises in the US jumped six-fold in 2015?
We don’t know about you, but that number has us worried.
While there’s not much you can do to completely free yourself from the risk of ATM fraud (other than never use one, of course), there are a couple things you can do to make sure you’re doing everything you can to avoid it.
Here are a couple tips to keep in mind for your next trip to the bank that might help keep you from becoming a statistic.
Tip 1: Go inside
If you need to visit an actual bank branch to get money out of your account anyway, why not head inside and withdraw the money from an actual teller instead of using the machine (or at least use an ATM that’s located inside the branch, rather than ones easily accessible to scammers on the street)? It might take you a couple extra minutes, but you can rest assured no one is stealing your account digits from the machine.
Tip 2: Cover your hand when inputting your pin
If you must use an ATM, be sure to use one that’s at your actual branch, and cover your hand completely when inputting your PIN number in case scammers are using videos to capture your movements. It doesn’t hurt to take a look around the ATM before using it, also, in case any cameras or monitors are within site, although usually they won’t be. Also try removing enough money to hold you over for a while, rather than just a day or so, to cut down on the number of times that you have to use an ATM, in general.
Tip 3: Check your card transactions frequently
While it doesn’t necessarily need to be every morning (although it only takes about a minute, so why not?), it’s a good idea to check in frequently with your checking account to make sure everything looks accurate and to report immediately any fishy activity. The sooner you can trace fraudulent behavior the better, and you’ll be more likely to remember exactly which ATM you retrieved money from the day before rather than a week or two later, as well.
Tip 4: Sign up for account alert technology
If your bank offers them, be sure to sign up for any account alerts that are available. Often this means you’ll receive emails or texts when money is withdrawn over a certain amount or from an account that is rarely used, etc. If it was you doing the withdrawing, great, and if not, you can alert your bank immediately to the fishy activity.
Tip 5: Keep all your information up to date
Signing up for alerts is one thing, but it will be hard for the bank to contact you if you’ve moved or changed your phone number or email address and not updated your information at your bank. Be sure to check with your account every couple months to make sure all your contact details are up to date.
While we’re on the subject, you might want to check out this piece about seven reasons why your debit card makes you a target for fraud, too.