Going to the ATM is typically a routine errand. You might not think twice about getting your card out of your wallet, entering your PIN, and grabbing some cash. But an ATM scam is targeting people in metro areas that could cost you more than just a few dollars.
According to NBC New York, this scam starts at the moment you enter your PIN. Targets receive a tap on the shoulder from what seems to be a friendly stranger alerting them to cash on the ground behind them that might have fallen from their wallet while entering their PIN. By the time they turn around to pick up the money, their card has already been removed from the ATM by a thief and swapped with a dummy card. The thieves then use the information on the card to withdraw money from the victim’s account or make purchases before they can realize what has happened.
Staying Safe from ATM Scams
There are a few easy steps you can take to protect yourself from this scam:
- Always be aware of your surroundings when using an ATM. If someone taps you on the shoulder, do not move away from the machine. Instead, stay at the ATM and alert your bank or the police immediately.
- Cover the keypad with your free hand or body when entering your PIN to block anyone from seeing it.
- Avoid ATMs that are in isolated areas or only have limited surveillance.
If you find yourself the victim of an ATM scam, report it to your bank immediately. Your bank will be able to investigate the case and, if possible, help you recover your money or block any fraudulent charges.
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