Friday, August 19, 2011

ATM Security Considerations

Automated Teller Machine (ATM) users should be aware that several security threats are taking place in the north Alabama area. Multiple robberies have taken place at Huntsville ATM locations where the customer was using an ATM at night. A criminal is approaching people as they are using the ATM and either taking their cash at that time or requiring the victim to withdraw funds to give to them. The common theme is that the crimes are occurring at night when the cover of darkness is allowing the criminal to remain unseen until the robbery takes place.

ATM users are cautioned to be very alert to their surroundings when using ATM's. Avoid ATM transactions at night if at all possible, especially at more remote locations where traffic or other patrons are not very visible to the ATM. Do not count your cash at the ATM itself - move away from the ATM and wait until you are safely in your vehicle away from the machine. If you are involved in a confrontation with an assailant who demands money, comply with demands and do not do anything that might provoke the criminal. If you have a debit card, remember that you can receive "cash back" at a merchant point of sale which would be safer than a late night ATM transaction.

Another ATM security threat is where criminals are watching people use ATM's from a short distance and viewing the ATM PIN used for the transaction. If the ATM user leaves the ATM and does not clear out the menu option of "do you want to perform another transaction" or something similar, the thief can go to that same ATM and enter the victim's PIN (that they just saw used) and perform a cash withdrawal from the victim's account. Video surveillance at several ATM locations in Huntsville have recorded a criminal stealing money in this fashion. Please note that ATM's of North Alabama Educators Credit Union do require that the card be swiped again before a new transaction can be performed. ATM menu's vary though so be sure that all menu options are cancelled out before leaving an ATM that has been utilized. This type of ATM fraud also reinforces the importance of paying attention to the surroundings when using an ATM.

Criminals are out there in our area looking for victims. Be smart. Be safe.

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