Magazine article Black Enterprise

Watch out for the ATM Caper: Thieves Are Setting Up Shop at Your Local Cash Machine

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Watch out for the ATM Caper: Thieves Are Setting Up Shop at Your Local Cash Machine

Article excerpt

You're running low on cash and there's not a bank in sight. But wait, out of the corner of your eye, you spy an ATM inside a deli that's seen better days. You type in your PIN number and then a message pops up on the screen, asking you to re-enter it. Just then, a man walks up behind you offering to help. You allow him to swipe your card and the transaction suddenly goes through. The interaction is forgotten until you discover your account has a zero balance. Guess what? You may be the victim of ATM fraud.

"Your PIN number is the key to your financial security," emphasizes Gregg James, assistant to the special agent in charge at the Secret Service. "Safeguard it like you would the key to your home." Organizations like the Electronic Funds Transfer Association have recently proposed strict guidelines for those purchasing an ATM--these conditions include a driver's license, a background check, and some even have capital requirements.

PROTECT YOURSELF WITH THESE TIPS:

Beware of your surroundings. "When you go to an ATM, make sure there's not someone looking over your shoulder," says Ann Roman, a spokeswoman for the Secret Service. Also, be on the lookout for signs posted near ATMs that say "Have your card cleaned here." Next to the sign will be an electronic swipe machine set up to capture the information on the back of your ATM card. Also, use machines that are attached to banks large supermarkets, Western Union money transfer locations, or airports, because the operation of these machines is carefully supervised, says Linda Foley, co-executive director of the Identity Theft Resource Center based in San Diego. …

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