4 security tips for using ATMs

woman covering her hand while entering PIN at ATM
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Automated Teller Machines (“ATMs”) are a quick and convenient way to withdraw money from your account. Unfortunately, the popularity of ATMs may also attract thieves, so it’s important to observe a few key safety tips when using an ATM.

One technique thieves use to defraud ATM accounts is called “skimming”. ATM skimming occurs when a thief installs a hidden electronic device onto an ATM and uses it to steal personal information stored on your debit or credit cards. ATM skimming is a crime that is on the rise.   According to a report from FICO, ATM skimming jumped 546 percent between 2014 and 2015.

So what can you do to help thwart identity theft while using an ATM? Follow these simple security tips to make every ATM visit a safe one:

Check the ATM keypad

The next time you’re at the ATM, take a closer look at the keypad before you insert your card into the reader. If the keypad looks thicker than usual or appears suspicious, it’s possible it could have been tampered with by criminals seeking to record your Personal Identification Number (“PIN”). If you have concerns about the keypad, move on to another ATM.

Check the ATM card reader

Does the card reader seem bulky or designed differently than the rest of the ATM? If the card reader assembly feels loose or is oddly colored, then it’s probably best to steer clear and move on to another ATM.

Cover the keypad

When you’re entering your PIN, use your hand to cover the keypad. Some thieves will stand where they can see over your shoulder or use tiny hidden cameras to steal your PIN.

Keep your PIN to yourself

Memorize your PIN and do not keep it in your wallet. Your PIN is the key to accessing all of your personal banking information. If thieves can discover your PIN, they can steal money from your accounts. If you keep your PIN written down on a piece of paper in your wallet, you run the risk of someone seeing it when you pull it out, dropping it unintentionally, or worse, losing your wallet with your debit card and PIN together.  

If you feel that an Oregon Community Credit Union ATM has been tampered with, please let one of our branch staff know so that a thorough investigation can be conducted.  If an ATM at another location appears suspicious, please make the facility and law enforcement aware of the potentially compromised device.

For more account security tips, check out our Privacy and Security resources.