We’re not sure how many people get taken for their hard earned cash at ATMs, but regardless, you’re better safer than sorry right? That being said, you can take what appears to be some very rudimentary precautions next time you head to the automated teller to withdraw cash. And while you might look a bit odd performing these checks, just think how liberating it will be when you don’t fall victim to such exploits.
1. Check for cameras
It may sound like a no brainer, but cameras have gotten so small they can just about fit any where. As a result you’ll want to look for these nasty little recording devices any where they can get an angle on the keypad. In this case, you’ll want to look above and around the keypad, as in the overhead light. Looking for anything protruding, and needless to say, with a lens.
2. Pull on the card reader
In addition to needing your pin to access your cash, thieves need your card info. They can acquire this info by placing a card reader over the existing reader. To make sure you’re not being duped, literally, pull on the card reader and see if it is loose or shifts around at all.
3. Check the keypad
The keypad should be solid, and not wiggle around. If it is, it might be a fake keypad designed to steal your PIN. Keep in mind that this is an alternative to using a camera, so make sure to perform all of these checks regardless if the other ones comes back negative.
To further err on the side of caution, we also suggest that you cover the keypad when you dial in your PIN. This applies at grocery stores, ATMs, and anything that has a keypad. If you head to Europe,don’t be surprised if the waiter or waitress comes over to your table with the actual credit card machine. A few years ago – not sure how many – apparently people we’re duping cards in restaurants, which resulted in them using mobile credit card machines. Just be prepared to wait, as the machines never work well. Lastly, when you can don’t use your ATM Debit card to make purchases. Once the money has been withdrawn it’s difficult to get it back. Credit card companies on the other hand have much greater protection in place and can pause charges and ultimately not make you pay if you prove that the charges were erroneous.