As the Christmas season approaches we are all going to be hitting the shops and bars to buy gifts and enjoy the festivities.

It’s likely this will mean visiting a cashpoint (ATM) at some stage, so here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when using cashpoints.

A recent survey has shown an estimated £36m was withdrawn fraudulently from cashpoints last year with over 250 machines having been tampered with by criminals.

  • Never write down you PIN
  • Always have your card ready when you approach the cashpoint, and avoid searching through your bag or wallet when you are at the machine
  • Maintain a good al round awareness when queuing and using the machine
  • Ensure you are not being overlooked (shoulder surfed) when entering your PIN
  • If you are interrupted during the transaction, cancel and withdraw your card if possible
  • Run your finger across the card slot before inserting your card, you are looking to feel any thin wires that can be used to hook your card. These are known are card traps and allow you to withdraw money but prevent you from extracting your card. The criminal will note your pin and then withdraw your card manually with the hooks previously inserted.
  • Have a cursory glance around the machine itself, look for signs of it being tampered with or if it is ill-fitting – it could be a false keypad or cashpoint facia placed over the real cashpoint. This is how card skimming is performed by digitally recording the details from your magnetic strip and also recording your pin.
  • Do not stand to count your cash, put it away immediately and move away from the machine
  • Ensure you are not followed once you move away from the machine

Remember, while you are engaged in the activity of withdrawing your money, you are not as focused on your surroundings (attentional distracters), so make sure you are alert and more aware of your surroundings and be prepared to act on anything that doesn’t feel right.

If you feel you have been a victim of card fraud, you should contact your bank immediately. Unless the bank can prove you deliberately or carelessly allowed someone else to take your card and/or pin details, they must refund you the money for any fraudulent transactions.

Stay safe have fun! 

Al x

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