ATM bank cash machines have been incorporated in our way of life. They offer convenience to those on the move, but at the same time offer an element of risk. Using a automated teller safely requires awareness and some planning. Just because a bank ATM machine is open all the time doesn’t mean it is always safe to operate it.
ATM Robbery Facts
Many ATM crimes happen at night between 7pm and midnight while the machine only produces a fraction of the daily transactions. Between 7pm and 4am, the machines process only 11% of the total daily transactions but suffer 60% of the crime.
Who Are the Robbers?
Bank ATM thieves are usually males under 25 years of age and most work alone. ATM robbers usually position themselves nearby and wait for a person to approach and take out cash. Many ATM robbery victims are women and many are alone when attacked. Most claim that they never saw the suspect coming. Most ATM crooks used a pistol or claimed to have a hidden weapon when confronting the victim and demanding their cash.
Pick a Safe Location
Use only ATM kiosks in well-lighted, high-visibility areas. ATMs inside busy supermarkets are considered safer. Don’t use ATM machines that are remote or hidden such as being located behind buildings, behind pillars, dark lobbies, or away from public view. Beware of obvious hiding places like shrubs or overgrown trees. ATM thieves like to surprise you and want no witnesses. Robbers like good escape routes like nearby freeway exits or high speed thoroughfares.
Get a list of ATM locations from your bank and keep it handy. Pick an ATM that looks and feels safer, even if it is a couple of miles out of the way. Try and limit your use to daylight hours. Take someone with you after hours, if you can. When you come up on an ATM location, scan the area for any suspicious persons. If you see anyone suspicious that is lurking nearby or sitting by themselves in a car, drive away. When you approach an ATM on foot be prepared and have your ATM card out. Memorize your personal PIN number to prevent loss and don’t write it down. After inserting your card and your PIN number keep an eye out around you. Never accept an offer to help or request for help from a suspicious person while at the ATM.
If anyone suspicious or seemingly dangerous approaches terminate your transaction and leave immediately. Tell the suspicious person in a loud, confident voice to “get away” and leave you alone. This is designed to startle the person and give you time to flee. It is much easier to apologize later or suffer some embarrassment for your fear than to become a robbery victim. When you get your cash from the machine put it away immediately, extract your card, and get away.
If you use your auto at a bank drive-thru ATM machine the same rules apply. Make sure there are no obvious hiding spots or suspicious people loitering in the area. If there are, listen to your gut instinct and drive away. Keep your doors locked and the car in gear, with your foot firmly on the brake, while using the ATM machine. Watch your rear and side view mirrors during the transaction. Thieves almost always appear from the rear on the drivers’ side. If you see anyone approaching, drive off even if it means leaving your ATM card behind. If you are confronted by an armed robber, just offer up your money without argument. The money is not worth serious harm or death. Go to a safe place and call the police immediately.
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