Financial Success

Know Your Enemies


ATM Security Tips

Steps To Avoid the Traps or Lessen the Impact if Your Information Is Stolen



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Advice by: the American Bankers Association;

Avivah Litan, fraud analyst at Gartner; and Karen Blumenthal, The Wall Street Journal.




The simplest protection is to get in the habit of covering up your hand when you enter your PIN so that a camera can't record what you are typing. 


Use an indoor ATM. Because they are less isolated, indoor ATMs are less likely to be tampered with than outdoor machines. 


Use your PIN sparingly at retailers, and choose the signature option – or a credit card – instead. 




If you don't have time to check your bank account regularly, set up email or text alerts to send you balances weekly or, if you are particularly paranoid, daily, so that you will know sooner if something is amiss. Most banks will refund your losses promptly, but you need to report the violation quickly, preferably within two days and no later than 60 days after receiving a statement showing the fraud. 


You should add your bank's and credit card's customer-service numbers to your contacts so you can access them from both your email and cellphone. Having the numbers at hand will eliminate the frustration of trying to find them when you are traveling or at a public computer.




If your bank suspects fraud, it needs to be able to reach you quickly. Make sure it has your cellphone number as well as your email address and that your other information is up to date. Taking my own advice, I discovered that my bank had home and work phone numbers that were more than a decade out of date.