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ATM Safety  
Convenient access to cash has changed our lifestyle.
Make sure you use it safely!


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ATM Safety
Convenient access to cash has changed our lifestyle. Make sure you use it safely!

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Gerber Life Family Times Archive

Just try to remember the days prior to having an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) at every street corner and store in town. Today it is difficult to imagine life without instant access to the money in your bank account. From trips to the supermarket, desperate stops for gas money while running on fumes, or that quick trip at lunchtime so you can grab a fast bite to sustain you through the day, the convenience of the ATM has become a necessary part of our lives.

According to the ATM Industry Association, estimates by Retail Banking Research, Ltd. place the number of ATMs installed worldwide at over 1.2 million.  The ATMIA goes on to add that ATM and Debit News estimates the total number of ATMs in the U.S. alone at 371,000 with a new ATM being installed every 5 minutes!

While the ease of access and proliferation of ATM machines over the past decade has been a welcome convenience to consumers, it also presents an added opportunity for theft and fraud. According to the U.S. Department of Justice:

  • Most robberies are committed by a lone offender using some type of weapon—against a lone victim.
  • Most occur at night, with the highest risk between midnight and 4:00 a.m.
  • Most involve robbing people of cash after they have made a withdrawal.
  • Robberies are somewhat more likely to occur at walk-up ATMs than at drive-through ATMs.
  • The average loss is between $100 and $200.

Although using an ATM is essentially a safe activity, there are things you can do to increase your safety and decrease the risk of becoming a robbery victim. The American Bankers Association (ABA) offers the following tips for ATM safety:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings, especially at night. Do not approach an ATM if you see suspicious individuals or something about the situation seems questionable.
  • Do not wait until you are at the ATM to take your ATM card from your purse or wallet. Have your card in hand so it can be used immediately.
  • When entering your Personal Identification Number (PIN), use your body to shield the ATM keypad to keep bystanders from seeing your entry.
  • Always take your transaction records and/or receipts with you to protect information about your accounts and account balances.
  • Immediately put your money into your pocket or purse and count it later – do not count or visually display your withdrawal in the open.
  • When using a drive-up ATM, make certain your passenger windows are rolled up and the doors are locked.
  • When you leave your car to visit a walk-up ATM, make certain to lock your car.
  • At night, only use well-lit ATMs.
  • Avoid ATMs that are blocked from public view or are overgrown with shrubbery.
  • If possible, have another person accompany you to the ATM.

Your PIN is the key to your security. Make your PIN something easy for you to remember, never write it down, and change it periodically to add another measure of security to your account.

The back of your ATM card should include a phone number to call if your card is lost, stolen, or its security is compromised. Write this number down and keep it somewhere that is easily accessible. If you do lose your card or suspect unauthorized activity on your card, call the number stated on the card immediately. Most likely, the contact you make will not be with your bank but will be with the card issuer. They will be able to stop further activity from occurring on the card. It is then your responsibility to contact your bank (as soon as possible on the next banking day) to report the situation. Your bank representative will then be able to instruct you on the bank’s procedure for reporting the incident, canceling the account, re-establishing a new account number, and submitting a request to recover the funds (if the loss was from fraudulent use of your account number).

So relax and enjoy the convenience of easy access to your cash—thanks to your nearest ATM!

United States Food and Drug Administration—
United States Department of Agriculture—
American Academy of Dermatology—

Articles are provided for the general interest of our readers. Gerber Life Insurance is not responsible for any content and recommends that you consult the appropriate professional with any questions or concerns you may have concerning any financial or health related issues.

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