8 Ways To Stay Safe And Aware When Using An ATM

The Coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted the way people conduct their banking transactions and access their money. To reduce face-to-face interactions and comply with state mandates, credit unions and banks have closed their lobbies and people will be relying on automated/interactive teller machines now more than ever. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are an easy and convenient way to make a deposit, withdrawal, or check your account balance. Sunmark myTMs can do even more! Sunmark myTMs offer almost all the services you would usually get from a teller, but in a self-service platform.

However, as more people visit these machines, criminals may try to capitalize on the increased opportunities to access your money. Coronavirus pandemic or not, it’s always necessary to stay safe and aware when using an ATM or myTM.

Here are some tips to keep you and your money safe at the ATM:

1. Take out minimal cash.

The safest place for your money is in your account. It will be harder for a criminal to access your money if you have followed security measures. The less cash you withdraw, the less desirable it will be for a thief to risk trying to steal it.

2. Try to visit during daylight hours.

If you require services when it’s dark, bring someone with you. Avoid machines that are poorly lit and park as close as you can. Choose a machine that is located in a clearly visible area with unobstructed sight lines.

3. Be aware of your surroundings.

No matter the time of day, always be aware of your surroundings. Know who is around you or in the vicinity. Are there parked cars near you? Is someone waiting in line behind you? If you need to exit the car to get access, lock your car doors. If you’re utilizing a drive through, keep windows up and doors locked.

4. Enter vestibules alone.

When accessing a machine located within a vestibule, be sure to close the door behind you and do not let another person piggyback on your access. Carry your cell phone in case you feel unsafe to exit the vestibule and need to call for help.

5. Does the machine look tampered with?

If the machine appears to be tampered with or looks different, don’t risk using it. Notify the bank or credit union personnel of your concerns and find another machine to use in the meantime.

6. Protect your information.

When accessing an ATM oy myTM within a store or high traffic area, be sure to shield the screen to prevent others from seeing your information. Stand directly in front of the machine to form a barrier and do not continue with your transaction if there is anyone watching. Never share your PIN or other personal information.

7. Minimize the time you spend at the machine.

Prepare transactions ahead of time and be sure to memorize your PIN. Put your card and cash away immediately after your transaction is completed and take your receipt with you.

8. Trust your instincts.

If you feel as though you’re being watched, leave the machine immediately. If you are followed in your vehicle, drive to the nearest police station or busy parking lot and call for help from your cell phone.