It used to be that you could just go to an ATM, pop in your pin number, and walk away with your cash without having to worry about some joker capturing your cash or your valuable account information.
Now it seems like every week there’s a new way to steal from us. But you DON’T have to be a victim!
First, it was the skimmer. Crooks attach a device over the card reader at the ATM that looks just like the card reader, but intercepts your account number, balance, and pin number. Ever since reading about that one, I’ve been sure to take a close look at the card readers on every ATM I visit. I bet that looks pretty bizarre on the security footage.
Of course, there are others — most involve blocking either your card or the cash and then pouncing when you go into the bank to report a problem with the machine.
This latest one is pretty easy to beat, as it requires you to remember one little detail about most ATMs — that there are a couple of different ways to input your information.
Bandits in the Wild West might have carried six-shooters, but modern-day ATM bandits are carrying another kind of gun — a glue gun.
They’ve started gluing down the "enter," cancel," and "clear" buttons on ATM keypads. They then watch for customers to swipe their cards and enter their pin numbers. Once a customer realizes the keys are stuck, he or she usually goes into the bank to report the problem. This leaves the machine unattended and the crook free to run up and complete the transaction, since the pin number has already been entered.
How do they complete the transaction? This is where the "one little detail" comes in. You don’t have to use the physical keys on ATMs — the touchscreen can also be used to finish a transaction.
Some customers don’t realize this detail (though others just become flustered when they see the buttons are stuck and don’t think about it, or don’t consider the danger of leaving the machine unattended), which can save your cash and your account information.
Remember — use those touchscreens. And never leave an ATM unattended. You can always call the bank using your cell phone, and have an employee meet you at the machine.
Ms. O’Brien has written for Nutrition & Healing, Healthier Talk and a variety of other natural and alternative health outlets. She believes in the power of natural medicine and her goal is to open people’s eyes to the benefits of alternative and integrative medicine.
Christine is passionate about helping people help themselves without having to turn to harsh drugs or invasive surgeries.
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