An ATM cash machine is a convenient way to access your money. Life can be hectic and many people simply cannot get to their bank, during banking hours to withdraw money or make a deposit. Many people don’t pay attention to what’s going on around them when they use a cash machine.
However, awareness and a little planning are required in order to stay safe. Just because an ATM is available 24/7 does not mean that it is always safe to use it.
Many people have been robbed at the ATM machine. The robberies generally occur at night between 8 PM and midnight. The robbers are usually done by one person who is typically a male under the age of 25. The robber will often position himself nearby and wait for the victim to approach the machine and take out cash. Most victims are females who are alone.
Many of the victims claim they did not see the robber approach. The robber would use a gun or claim to have a weapon when they confront the victim and demand their money.
If you use an ATM machine on a regular basis, here are some ways to keep yourself safe.
- Only use an ATM machine that is located in a well-lit, high-traffic area. Don’t go to remote locations or hidden areas behind a building, pillar or wall.
- Make sure the ATM is in view of the public. Look for possible hiding places before you approach the ATM. Are their shrubs or overgrown trees that a person could hide behind? ATM robbers use the power of surprise against their victim and don’t want witnesses.
- Many robbers like to find an ATM locations that provide a good escape route like near a high-speed thoroughfare or freeway on-ramp.
- Choose an ATM that feels and looks safe. This might mean driving a couple of miles out of your way. Try to use the ATM during daylight hours. If you must go after hours, take someone with you, if possible.
- When you arrive at the ATM scan the area for suspicious people and hiding places. If you see someone questionable standing nearby or waiting in their car, drive away.
- If you approach an ATM on foot, have your access card ready. Memorize your PIN number to prevent loss. After inserting the card and entering your PIN, keep an eye on your surroundings.
- Do not accept an offer to help or request help from a person standing near the machine. If anyone suspicious approaches or if the situation seems dangerous, terminate your transaction and leave the area. This may mean you have to run and leave the ATM card in the machine.
- If a suspicious person approaches you say “back off” in a loud and firm voice. This may startle the person, which can give you time to flee if needed.
- When you get your money from the ATM put it away immediately, remove your card and leave the area. Until you are safely away from the area or are in your car, pay close attention to your surroundings.
- The same rules apply when you are using a drive-thru ATM machine. Keep your vehicle in gear and your foot on the brake. Watch your rear and side view mirrors while using the machine. Robbers will often approach from the rear on the driver’s side.
- If you are facing an armed robber, give them the cash. Do not fight. The cash is not worth getting hurt or killed. After the robber has left, get to a safe area and call the police.
In order to stay safe when using the ATM, remember these 8 tips:
- Don’t use an ATM machine if the lights around the machine are broken.
- Avoid ATM machines that are near obvious hiding places.
- Have your card and PIN number ready, do your transaction and leave quickly.
- Do not count your cash in public.
- Beware of offers to help from strangers.
- Don’t fight with the robber or attempt to follow him.
- If you carry a self defense device like a personal alarm or hot self defense spray have it in your hand when you walk up to the ATM.
- If you’ve been robbed, drive or walk to a safe place and call the police.