ATM Security and Your Safety
Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) have been integrated in our way of life. They offer a real convenience to those on the run but at the same time offer an element of risk.
Using an ATM safely requires awareness and a little planning.
Just because an ATM machine is open and available 24 - hours a day doesn't mean it is safe to use it.
Research has shown the following:
- Most ATM robberies occur at night between 8:00 pm and midnight.
- ATM robbers are usually males under 25 years of age and most work alone.
- ATM robbers usually position themselves nearby waiting for a victim to approach and withdraw cash.
- Most ATM robbery victims are women and were alone when robbed.
- Most claim that they never saw the robber coming.
- Most ATM robbers used a gun or claimed to have a concealed weapon when confronting the victim and demanding their cash.
If you or your family members use ATM cash machines on a regular basis, here are some tips that can make the process a little safer:
- Use only ATM machines in well-lighted, high-traffic areas.
- Don't use ATM machines that are remote or hidden such as being located behind buildings, behind pillars, walls, or away from public view.
- Beware of obvious hiding places like shrubbery or overgrown trees.
- ATM robbers like to have the element of surprise and no witnesses.
- Robbers like good escape routes like nearby freeway on-ramps or high-speed thoroughfares.
- Choose an ATM that looks and 'feels' safer, even if it is a couple of miles out of the way.
- Try and limit your use to daylight hours. Take someone with you after hours, if you can.
- Memorize your personal PIN number to prevent loss and to speed up your transaction
Drive Thru ATMs
- When you drive up to an ATM location, scan the area for any suspicious persons.
- Keep the car in gear, with your foot firmly on the brake, while using the drive-thru ATM machine.
- If you see anyone suspicious standing nearby or sitting in a car, drive away.
- Check your mirrors often, if you see someone approaching your car on foot, drive away.
- Robbers almost always approach on your rear and from the rear on the driver's side
- Pick a drive-thru that is well lighted.
- Many drive-thru ATMs are located on the outside lane, be mindful of hiding places like shrubbery or overgrown trees, near or around the ATM. That nice looking landscaping looks great during the day, at night it could be the cover the robber is looking for.
- If at all possible try not to be "boxed" in by other cars while waiting your turn to use the drive-thru ATM
ATM Common Sense
- If you use your car or walk-up to an ATM machine the same rules apply.
- When you approach an ATM be prepared and have your access card ready.
- Memorize your personal PIX number to prevent loss and speed the transaction.
- After inserting your card and your PIN number keep an eye out behind you.
- Never accept an offer to help or request for help from a suspicious male ahead of you at the machine.
- If anyone suspicious or seemingly dangerous approaches terminate your transaction and leave immediately, even if it means leaving your ATM card in the machine.
- If someone comes up to you, tell the suspicious person in a loud, firm voice to ''back-off'' and leave you alone. This is a desired tactic to startle the person and give you time to flee, if appropriate.
- When you receive cash from the machine put it away immediately, extract your card, and leave. Do not stand at the machine and count your money.
- If an armed robber confronts you, just give up your money without argument. The cash is not worth serious injury or death. Get to a safe place and call the police immediately.
- If lights around the ATM are not working, don't use that machine.
- Avoid ATM machines adjacent to obvious hiding places.
- Have your card ready and leave quickly, not counting your cash in public.
- Beware of offers for help from strangers during an ATM transaction.
- Don't fight with or attempt to follow the robber.
- Drive or walk to a safe place and immediately call the police.
It is a sad commentary, where ever there is cash, there is going to be someone who wants to take it by force if necessary. The above tips are provided to help you not to be a victim. But if you are in a situation, remember a few bucks is not worth your life.
I am a firm believer in self-defense, I have in my possession at all times some sort of a self defense product to help defend myself. For instance I always carry self-defense chemical spray, such as Mace. However I am also aware that non lethal products are no match for a 9mm automatic pointed at my head.
There is no shame in walking way with your life, all the bravado in the world will not stop a bullet.
To your safety.
About the Author: ©2008 All rights reserved
Michael McBee, Jackson, Tennessee, United States
More info: www.nonlethaldefense.com
Michael is an online entrepreneur with over 20 years of offline and online sales and marketing experience. His background covers a wide spectrum including Security, Insurance, and Information Technology, he is now the owner of a web site promoting self-defense and home protection products.
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