Take Precautions When Using An ATM

Posted on May 10, 2013

There are fewer and fewer transactions taking place with cold hard cash.  Nowadays, people use their credit cards or simply make many of their purchases online. But there are still holdouts to the electronic transaction era, and at such times, you’ll likely have to go to an ATM at some point.

But as a recent slew of robberies in Waldorf, Maryland demonstrates, drawing money out of an ATM could pose a hazard.  Thieves will lie in wait in particularly susceptible areas and then rob an individual that just took out money.  To make sure that such an incident never befalls you, consider some of the safety tips offered in a new report.

You first want to make sure that the ATM you use isn’t in an area that could contribute to thievery.  For one thing, any ATM you draw money from should be located along the side of a building as opposed to a corner.  When the ATM is on the corner, your ability to see all around you is compromised, whereas an ATM on a wall or in an open area ensures you’ll be able to see suspicious persons coming from far away.

It’s perhaps best to simply not put yourself in a dangerous situation and instead opt to use an ATM in a public place.  But make sure that even public places are adequately lit, especially at night, and that large items like bushes aren’t around, as these could block your sight and the sight of others who would be able to identify a robbery taking place.

Also realize that a robbery is possible even via a drive-thru ATM.  This won’t prove a deterrent to particularly enterprising thieves.  When you pull up to the ATM, make sure that you don’t turn off the vehicle.  That way, you can post a hasty retreat if someone tries something untoward.  Give the person in front of you ample room with which to navigate, and keep doors and windows locked until you’re actually using the machine.

If you have to bank in an area you’re unfamiliar with, gauge your surroundings prior to making any sort of transaction.  Should a parking lot be relatively empty save for a few cars, keep an eye on those vehicles and any persons inside.  And if an individual is loitering in the area, you might be better off simply going elsewhere to conduct your business.

Finally, expedite the process as best you can.  Get your transaction ready prior to going to the ATM, with deposit envelopes or your ATM card ready to go before you walk or pull up.  And when your cash spews out, take it and leave.  Wait to count it until you’re home or in a place where onlookers can’t see you.

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