Tyler Better Business Bureau
With holiday shopping in full swing, many will be using debit cards for transactions. This is the reason many retailers have ATMs in their businesses or nearby.
Pay close attention to the ATM and your surroundings. Don't select an ATM at the corner of a building - corners create a blind spot. Use an ATM near the center of a building. Do automated banking in a public, well-lighted location that is free of shrubbery and decorative partitions or dividers.
When leaving an ATM make sure you are not being followed. If you are, drive immediately to a police or fire station, or to a crowded, well-lighted location.
Do not allow people to look over your shoulder as you enter your PIN.
Do not wear expensive jewelry or take other valuables to the ATM. This is an added incentive to an assailant.
Never count cash at the machine or in public. Wait until you are in your car or another secure place. When using a drive-up ATM, keep your engine running and your doors locked.
Closely monitor your bank statements, and immediately report problems to your bank.
If you are involved in a confrontation with an assailant who demands your money, comply.
HOW TO AVOID BEING SKIMMED:
Skimming typically involves the use of a hidden camera to record customers' entry of their PINs into the ATM's keypad. In some cases, criminals attach a phony keypad on top of the real keypad which records every keystroke as customers punch in their PINs.
Before you use your ATM card, inspect the ATM, gas pump or credit card reader — be suspicious if you see anything loose, crooked, or damaged.
When entering your PIN, block the keypad with your other hand to prevent possible hidden cameras from recording your number.
If possible, use an ATM at an inside location, where there is less access for criminals to install skimmers.
Be careful of ATMs in tourist areas -- they are a popular target of skimmers.
If your card isn't returned after the transaction or after hitting “cancel,” immediately contact the financial institution that issued the card.
For more information on how to be a savvy consumer, go to www.bbb.org. To report a fraud or scam, call the BBB Hotline at 903-581-8373.