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Five Ways to Bank Safely at the ATM During the Holiday Season

The busiest month for ATM usage is December according to CO-OP Financial Services. When ATM transactions increase, so does fraud, ID theft, and crime at ATM’s. You should always use caution at the ATM, especially during the busy month of December.Here are some suggestions that help make trips to the ATM safe this holiday season.


1. Come Prepared


Prepare all documents and have your ATM card ready before arriving at the ATM. Make sure to always have a small supply of deposit slips at home, the office or in your car and fill them out before going to the ATM. “Criminals generally select victims who are unaware and unprepared,” says Stan Hollen, CEO, CO-OP Financial Services. Your demeanor and attitude is important.  Walk purposefully to the ATM and stay cognizant of your environment, especially at night.


2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings


Keep a constant watch of the area while standing at the ATM. Never allow anyone else to enter with you into any indoor ATM space if a card is needed for entry. Walk away if you see anything suspicious and if your transaction is in progress, be sure to cancel before leaving.


3. Choose an ATM with an Unobstructed View


Make sure you select an ATM that is well-lit and visible to a passerby and not blocked by any barriers, including shrubs, signs or buildings. Do not select an ATM at the corner of a building (it creates a blind spot) while you conduct your transaction. If possible, select an ATM that is patrolled by a security guard or is equipped with a transaction surveillance camera. Consider taking someone with you if you must use an ATM at night.


4. Protect Your PIN


Keep your PIN a secret never share it with anyone. When entering your PIN at the ATM, stand between the machine and people waiting in line and hide the keypad with your hand or body.


5. Complete Your Transaction and Leave


When your transaction is complete, make sure you have your card and transaction record. “Do Not count or display large amounts of cash. If you get cash, immediately put it in your wallet, purse or pocket. When leaving the ATM, make sure you’re not being followed. If you think you’re being followed, go to an area with a lot of people and call the police.

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