ATM cash machines have been incorporated in our way of life. They offer a real convenience to those on the run but at the same time offer an element of risk. Using an ATM machine safely requires awareness and a little planning. Just because an ATM machine is open and available 24 hours a day DOES NOT mean that it is safe to use. Most ATM robberies occur at night between the hours of 8pm and midnight. ATM robbers are usually males under the age of 25 and most work alone. ATM robbers usually position themselves nearby waiting for a victim to approach and withdraw cash. Most ATM robber victims are women and were alone when robbed. Most claim that they never saw the robber coming. Most ATM robbers used a gun or claimed to have a concealed weapon when confronting the victim and demanding their cash.
If you or your family members use ATM cash machines on a regular basis, here a some tips that can make the process a little safer:
Use only ATM machines in well-lighted, high-traffic areas. DO NOT us ATM machines that are remote or hidden such as being located behind buildings, pillars, walls, or away from public view. Beware of obvious hiding places like shrubbery or overgrown trees. ATM robbers like to have the element of surprise and no witnesses. Robbers like good escape routes like nearby freeway on-ramps or high-speed thoroughfares.
Be sure to choose an ATM that “feels” safer. Everybody gets that feeling that something does not look very safe. Avoid ATM machines that give you that feeling. That extra drive to another one will be well worth it, trust me. Be sure to take someone with you after hours and when it is dark.
Scan the area for suspicious persons before getting out of the car. If you see anybody who you think looks out of place drive away immediately. Or, if it is too late by then be sure to tell them in a loud, stern voice to “Back off and leave me alone!” This is designed to startle the person and hopefully give you time to flee.
Also, as simple as this may seem, be sure to memorize your pin code to speed up the process. You would be surprised how many people do not have this memorized and waste time standing outside trying to find the piece of paper in their wallet or purse that they have it written down on. If someone suspicious starts walking towards you be sure to terminate your transaction and leave at once. Never request help from a stranger and never offer to help an unknown male ahead of you at the ATM machine.
Using your car for a drive up ATM machine apply the same rules. Robbers almost always approach the car from the back of the drivers side. Be sure to be always aware of what is in your mirrors and if someone is approaching you then drive off, even if this means leaving your card inside the machine. If you can not get away then just give up the money. Your life is not worth the money.
If lights around the ATM are not working, please DO NOT use the machine.
Once again, avoid ATM machines adjacent to obvious hiding places. I can not stress this one enough.
Have your card out and ready to use. Waste as little time as you can getting your money out.
Beware of offers of help from strangers while at the ATM machine.
DO NOT fight with or attempt to follow the robber
Drive or walk to a safe place and immediately call the police if anything were to happen.
These are just a few simple, yet seldom used tips to avoid unnecessary incidents at an ATM machine to keep you and your family safe. Please be aware at all times. It really is not that hard to do.
Adam Walls is the owner of 919 Security, an online self defense products store that specializes in self defense products, home safety products, and much more.