Don't Let ATM Usage Compromise Your Financial Security

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With the holidays coming up, many people are going to be hitting up ATMS, and in many cases, they’ll be going to machines away from home that they’re not used to using.  In such an environment, it’s important to take certain safety precautions that can help you avoid potential identity theft.  A new report relates tips centered on that topic from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

When you go shopping, get in the habit of carrying only a single ATM card, keeping others you may have someplace secure.  Only take the card out when you’re using an ATM or making a purchase.  One thing you absolutely should not do is write your PIN on the card itself.  Doing so basically invites financial peril should you lose your card.

Go to ATMs that you trust if you can, but if that’s not possible, then at the very least stick to those ATMs that look acceptable.  They should be well-lit and there should be plenty of foot traffic so that no one will be able to accost you.

The other thing you have to look out for is something called a “skimmer.”  These come in all shapes and sizes, but the most common is a device that goes over the card reader and records you card information when you insert your card.  Be on the lookout for odd-looking contraptions, especially those you haven’t seen before at a particular ATM.  It’s also not a bad idea to check something like a brochure or envelope holder attached to the ATM to make sure no one has placed a camera there.