There are more than 66,700 UK ATMs and those of us who live and work here are constantly using them to access our accounts. Even though ATMs offer a convenient and easy way to access our money when we need it, they also represent a potentially risky situation where it’s very easy to get into trouble if you’re not concentrating. Personal security at the cash machine is now key as crime against individuals withdrawing cash is commonplace. However, you don’t have to be fearful of using an ATM, simply take a few sensible precautions and don’t take risks.
First of all be sensible when using an ATM – avoid taking cash out of a machine late at night and try to stay away from a cash dispenser that is located on a dark alleyway or out of sight of security cameras or other people. Without being paranoid, try to think about whether the ATM you are opting for represents an opportunity for someone to take advantage of you removing cash and if it does, then simply move on to a different location.
Don’t hang around when you’re getting cash out of an ATM as this only gives someone the opportunity to intervene. Be quick, definite and be prepared before you actually step up to use the machine itself. When you insert your card and start the process of withdrawing money, be sure to cover the keypad when you enter your PIN. If you don’t do this, someone standing nearby may see your PIN and if they get your card, they will be able to access your account – don’t give strangers the motivation to steal your card!
If your card gets stuck or jammed in the machine – or no cash emerges – check the machine for any kind of attached device and contact your bank immediately. Once you have your cash, put it away immediately, don’t stand and count it in the street, as you are simply giving someone another opportunity to take advantage of you. The most important part of being safe at a cash dispenser is awareness – be aware of your surroundings, look for threats, and don’t allow yourself to be distracted by someone at a cash point, no matter how helpful they might appear to be. Stay focused, take your money and leave and, in all but the most unpredictable situations, you will be able to keep your cards and cash secure.