When you think of safety tips for your everyday life, you most likely are not thinking about ATMs or cash machines. ATMs provide many benefits for customers and businesses alike, but without being aware of the potential safety risks those benefits become obsolete. Incorporating a few of these tips and tricks when using a cash machine in Colorado can help keep you and your money safe.
Always be aware of your surroundings
While this tip might seem fairly obvious, it is necessary. When you are using an ATM make sure you are using one that is in a well-lit and highly trafficked area. You should try to avoid visiting cash machines on an outside corner of a building as there could easily be someone lurking in your blind spot. Try to visit ATMs in the middle of a building or inside a business as the likelihood of someone robbing you of the cash you just withdrew drastically decreases.
Keep your PIN safe
Your Personal Identification Number (PIN) should never be written down, especially on the back of your debit card, or given out over the phone. Like your social security number, you will want to memorize your PIN. Your PIN is the key to your bank account and if a criminal were to get ahold of it, he or she could easily wipe out your savings. Additionally, when using a cash machine make sure to cover the keypad with your hand and body to ensure no one behind you can see your PIN.
Be aware of ATM ‘skimming’
While ATM ‘skimming’ is illegal, it doesn’t stop people from doing it. It’s important you inspect an ATM for any irregularities before you use it. These ‘skimming’ devices look to be part of an ATM’s electrical system but are in fact used to steal bank information. Be on the lookout for extra attachments on the card readers, awkward resistance from the keypad or any scratched or damaged pieces.
Prepare all withdraw and deposit paperwork beforehand
Before you leave your home or car, make sure all paperwork you need for your ATM transaction is completed before you get to the cash machine. Stumbling with paperwork or filling it out at the ATM invites criminals to take advantage of your distracted attention.
Never count money in the open
After the ATM dispenses your money, have an empty envelope ready to place your withdraw money in and leave the ATM immediately. Counting cash in the open not only draws attention to you but also makes it incredibly easy for someone to snatch the money right out of your hands and run away with it. Wait until you have gotten to a safe location, such as your car, to count the cash you just took out.
Have your ATM card ready
Treat your ATM card like cash. Before you deposit cash in an ATM you want it ready to go so you aren’t fiddling with your wallet on the street. This same practice should be applied to your ATM card. Have your ATM card in your hand or pocket before you approach the ATM. Pulling out your entire wallet as you are walking up to a cash machine makes you an easy target for pickpockets.
Being aware of your surroundings and practicing these easy safety tips, is a surefire way to keep you and your finances protected when using a cash machine in Colorado.