ATM and debit cards provide a fast, easy way to get cash, make purchases, and conduct a variety of account transactions. To enjoy the many conveniences debit offers, make protecting your ATM or debit card a priority. Here are some important safety tips.
Watch for Skimming Devices
Skimming devices that capture card and PIN data may be attached to card readers and/or keypads at ATMs and point of sale terminals, such as gas pumps. If you suspect alterations to a card terminal, do not complete the transaction.
Keep Your PIN to Yourself
No one ever needs to know your PIN...not even your financial institution. Memorize your PIN and never write it on your card or store it with your card. Never let a cashier, teller, or other stranger enter your PIN for you.
Shop Carefully Online
When you initiate an online transaction, type the URL into your browser instead of using a link. Look for indicators that the site is secure, like "https" in the web address or the closed padlock icon It also is wise to conduct financial transactions on wired Internet connections, Public wireless networks can be more vulnerable to attack.
Report a Lost or Stolen Card At Once
If your card is lost or stolen, call your financial institution immediately to reduce the chance that the card will be used improperly. This step also will limit your potential liability for unauthorized transactions.
Review Account Statements Regularly
Verify all transactions by matching receipts to account statements. Many financial institutions offer free email alerts for routine account activity, as well as for unusual transactions.
Never Respond to an Unsolicited Request
Never provide your debit card number, PIN, or any other private information to anyone in response to an unsolicited email, pop-up message, or phone request. Your financial institution will never ask for your PIN.
Beware of Phony ATMs
Aside from altering ATMs, perpetrators also may install fraudulent ATMs in public places, which may be difficult to distinguish from a legitimate ATM.
Observe Your Surroundings
If anyone or anything appears suspicious, leave the area at once. If you drive to an ATM, park close to the terminal and observe the entire area from the safety of your car before getting out.
Only Use Well-Lit, Unobstructed ATMs
If an ATM is obstructed from view or poorly lit, leave the area and conduct your transaction at another location.
Minimize Time Spent at the ATM
When your transaction is complete, put your card, money, and receipt away, and immediately leave the area. Never count your money while at the ATM.
Only Enter Your PIN Once For a Transaction
If you are prompted to enter your PIN twice, or if you notice unusual messages on the screen, go to another ATM. If the transaction is canceled and you enter your PIN a second time, check your statement for duplicate transactions,
Block the View of the Keypad at an ATM
Prevent "shoulder surfing" by standing between the ATM and anyone waiting to use the terminal. Shield the keypad from unauthorized cameras and other patrons when entering your PIN.
Drive-Through ATM Safety
- Keep your doors locked and engine running at a drive-through ATM.
- Always leave enough room between vehicles to allow for a quick exit.
- Before rolling down the window to use an ATM, observe the area for suspicious activity.
- If anyone follows you after making an ATM transaction, drive immediately to a crowded, well-lit area and call the police.
If you suspect any questionable activity at ATMs or detect any unlawful use of your ATM or debit card, always note the date, time and location, and report the problem to your financial institution and the ATM operator (when applicable) immediately. File a police report to document theft.