Do not fall prey to the rising ATM fraud

A lot of ATM fraud is succeeding due to the negligence of customers in using their ATM cards, and more importantly, negligence of banks in educating their customers about the matters that should be taken care of while at an ATM. The majority of ATM fraud pertains to negligence of the Personal Identification Number (PIN) than sophisticated crimes like money transfer.

A lot of ATM fraud is succeeding due to the negligence of customers in using their ATM cards, and more importantly, negligence of banks in educating their customers about the matters that should be taken care of while at an ATM. The majority of ATM fraud pertains to negligence of the Personal Identification Number (PIN) than sophisticated crimes like money transfer.

The most important aspect for reducing ATM related fraud is to educate the customer. Here is a compiled list of guidelines to help your customers from becoming victims of this rising fraud:

Look for suspicious attachments. Criminals often capture ATM cards and user information through ATM skimming using devices that either capture the card or steal magnetic strip information.

At a glance, the skimmer looks just like a regular ATM slot, but it‘s an attachment that captures ATM cards. To spot one, the attachment slightly protrudes from the machine and may not be parallel with the inherent grooves.

The skimmer will not obtain PIN numbers, however. To get that, fraudsters place hidden cameras facing the ATM screen. There‘s also the helpful bystander (the criminal) who may be standing by to kindly inform you the  machine has had problems and offer to help. If you do not feel safe at any time, press the ATM cancel button, remove your card and leave the area immediately.

Minimize your time at the ATM. The more time you spend at the ATM, the more vulnerable you are. After the transaction, if you think you are being followed, go to an area with a lot of people and call the police.

Avoid using ATM’s at night. While robberies are less prevalent than fraud at ATMs, there‘s still risk, especially at night. And if you have to use an ATM late at night, use one at a bank itself. Financial institutions have to follow certain guidelines and regulations as far as lighting is concerned. They also have security personnel on the ATMs.

Be aware of your surroundings. Before you slide your card into the machine, look around if the area appears safe or if there is anybody who can see the PIN pad. Having the card ready before entering is ATM premises is better than searching for it in your wallet or purse.

While you are fumbling with it you are easy prey for a thief. A good rule of thumb is to always shield your card, no matter how comfortable you are with the place. If your card is stuck inside an ATM, be suspicious of anyone offering help.

Immediately report the incident to the bank.
Unlike sophisticated crimes like cash theft, which the banks can control from the inside, preventing ATM fraud requires a coordinated action on the part of the bank, customers and the law enforcement machinery.

ATM fraud not only causes financial loss to banks and customers but they also undermine customers’ confidence in the use of ATMs.

This will deter a greater use of ATM for monetary transactions. It is, therefore, in the interest of banks to prevent ATM fraud.
 
dkirunga@toiff.com

Derrick Kirunga is Executive Director,  Institute of Fraud Prevention & Investigation Studies.

 

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