/ Security

How to Protect Yourself at the ATM

Choose Your ATM Carefully

Criminals like to install skimmer devices that read your card number as you insert it into the ATM. Use ATMs in well lit and high traffic places, or preferably inside a bank. The more eyes on the ATM, the less likely it is that a criminal will risk getting caught while installing a skimmer.

Inspect the ATM

Inspect it for anything out of the ordinary. Pull at different parts of the ATM, especially the area around the part that reads your debit card. One day you might find a skimmer like this guy did in a high traffic area in Vienna (just because you pick a "safe" ATM doesn't mean you should let your guard down!).

Cover Your PIN

Covering your PIN has absolutely nothing to do with someone looking over your shoulder. Alongside the actual skimmer there's usually a camera somewhere to capture your PIN as you type it in.

Understand Your Liability

In case you are the victim of an ATM skimmer, you need to be vigilant. The maximum amount the bank can hold you liable for fraudulent transactions on a ATM or debit card is

If you report Your maximum loss
Before any unauthorized charges are made $0
Within 2 business days after you learn about the loss or theft. $50
More than 2 business days after you learn about the loss or theft,
but less than 60 calendar days after your statement is sent to you, $500
More than 60 calendar days after your statement is sent to you. All the money taken from your ATM/debit card acount, and possibly more;
for example, money in accounts linked to your debit account.

Note that this is just your maximum legal liability; your bank may choose to hold you liable for less. However, it's not just about your liablility but having your cash unavailable during any investigation into fraud.

I highly recommend that you set up email and/or text alerts from your bank for any transaction using your debit card so that you can report fraud in a timely manner.

How to Protect Yourself at the ATM
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