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Monday, 28 January 2013

Don't Skim(p) On Security at the ATM

Image source: blog.hisoftware.com
While electronic transactions are on the rise, many of us still regularly go to the ATM to withdraw cash for smaller transactions like buying airtime for your mobile phone. It’s a routine that many take for granted and that’s what fraudsters prey on.

A former banker was sentenced to six months in prison by a Federal High court presiding in Lokoja, Kogi State, over a N12.3 million ATM, fraud. Also in 2012, the Lagos State Police Command arrested a man for allegedly being in possession of 19 ATM cards. As of the time of his arrest, the suspect had withdrawn N652, 000 from unsuspecting people’s accounts.

Fraudsters will use any opportunity to commit crimes, from basic things like looking over your shoulder to elaborate set ups such as installing a CCTV and skimmer on an ATM machine to steal information about your Visa card. By stealing your card information, it will enable them to potentially create fake credit cards for fraudulent spending – all on your account.

Here are three potentially tricky scenarios that you may face while withdrawing cash at an ATM and how to better protect yourself from fraud.

ATMs in suspicious locations
You are out shopping at a market when you realize that you no longer have any cash and need to withdraw money. You spot an ATM but as you approach it, your instincts start to tingle and you just don’t feel comfortable with your surroundings.

Now, what would you do in this situation?
The right thing to do in this situation is to find another ATM machine that you are comfortable using. Always be aware of your surroundings. If the ATM is poorly lit in a concealed location, or if you’re just not feeling comfortable, use another machine. Also avoid counting cash or rummaging through personal items while standing at the ATM.

Watch for ‘shoulder surfing’


You are at a well-lit ATM in an area that you are comfortable with. There seems to be nothing wrong so you proceed to make your withdrawal. Considering you’ve always had trouble remembering your PIN, you have it written down on the back of your Visa card. You take a quick peek to remind yourself and input the PIN casually. In the meantime, you failed to notice two shady characters lingering a little too close for comfort.

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