ATM users be advised, this counterfeit $20.00 bill, seen below, is one of 100 inserted into an ATM machine in one stack; this is what placed it out of order. The perpetrators planned to recover an advance fee from the bank of $200.00 utilizing a bank account opened with a stolen identity. This is just one scam involving the ATM machines of major financial institutions as well as the smaller regional banks.
First main concern: bad guys will intentionally place a machine out of order utilizing a jamming device to set up an armed robbery while a technician is repairing the system. The bank customer may also be forced at gunpoint to withdraw money by an armed robber who will remove the “jam”. This, unfortunately is more common than most expect, especially at night in remote locations. Remember, each ATM machine contains substantial amounts money and is, therefor, a popular target for thieves.
Second main concern: there are mutable capabilities provided bad guys via high tech to obtain your personal data including your account information even as you use the machine. Avoid using machines not owned by financial institutions such as those found in bodegas, convenience stores, etc.
In the past, a criminal could steal the whole ATM machine. Mega structures containing these machines have made it very difficult if not impossible to succeed at that. More reason, therefor, for you to be concerned that you are the “soft” target.
You must be always alert, avoid late night visits to ATM’s in areas of large shopping malls; especially stand alone island machines. Make sure you observe the surrounding area looking for individuals standing around, often under the influence of alcohol or drugs. At drive-up machines, as you approach the kiosk, be aware of occupied cars in an overlook position within the area of the ATM.
While utilizing an ATM system: 1) maintain due diligence, make sure you’re not being watched and/or someones has not sidled up to you, 2) If you drove up to a system, once again keep your eyes open for approaching individuals during or persons loitering in a automobile or being a column, 3) avoid machines not operated by financial institutions and 4) If possible avoid late night visits to utilize the ATM system.