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Automated teller machine security

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized

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Published on November 23, 2010 with No Comments

By Shannon Franko

Millions of ATM transactions are successfully completed each day all over the world. Utilizing an ATM is the ultimate form of convenience for customers because the machines are a source of quick cash. They are also open 24/7, and are usually easy to find.
While only a small fraction of criminal incidents occur at ATMs when compared to the volume of transactions performed, it is still worthwhile to review security tips to avoid becoming a victim.
First, always protect your ATM or debit card as diligently as you would cash, your checkbook or a credit card. Never write down your personal identification number (PIN). If you are having trouble remembering your PIN, check with your bank about changing it, or for hints on how to carry it with you so no one would realize what it is should they find it.
Do not share your PIN with anyone; even bank employees should not have access to your number. Most importantly, never respond to an e-mail or phone call from an entity claiming to be your bank asking for your PIN, or for any other personal information for that matter. Banks collect all of the information they need when the card is opened, so there would never be a legitimate reason for them to contact you and ask for it again.
When approaching an ATM, be sure it is well-lit and unencumbered by shrubbery, foliage or barriers. Do not use the machine if a stranger is present or if someone approaches you to offer assistance. Even if no one is around, it is always recommended that consumers be discreet when entering their PIN. If the machine is a drive-up, be sure your doors are locked.
If the ATM is one you use frequently, be cautious if there are any new signs, instructions or cameras, or if there are any changes to the manner in which your card is entered into the machine.
Card skimming is when identity thieves place small electronic devices over or inside the slots of ATMs that read the magnetic strip on cards and capture information. This information is then used to create counterfeit cards that are then used to withdraw cash or purchase merchandise. The skimming devices have become so small that it is extremely difficult to detect them.
However, if it seems difficult to put your card into the machine, do not force it; find another ATM. If your card is captured in a machine, notify your bank immediately so they can cancel the card. Using the same machine to make cash withdrawals can be your best bet against skimmers because you are more likely to notice anything out of the ordinary.
Of course, the best way to ensure the safety and security of your accounts is to monitor your balance and statement of activity regularly.
Peoples Bank offers free online banking to all checking account customers, which give customers immediate access to account information. If you detect any irregularities, even if the dollar amount seems insignificant, report it to your bank immediately. Consumer protections for ATM accounts vary, but early detection and reporting is the key.

Shannon Franko is the banking center manager for Peoples State Bank in Valparaiso, located at 2905 Calumet Ave. For more information, call 219-462-4100, or e-mail sfranko@ibankpeoples.com.

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