ATM safety precautions

WITH nerves jangled after Thailand’s very first ATM hack led to12 million baht being stolen from 21 Government Savings Bank cash machines those who routinely carry out transactions through these machines could protect themselves by taking a few precautions.

                   Among the tips from is that users should thoroughly check an ATM before inserting their card but if they do not have the time to do so they should keep these quick and simple things in mind:

                  • Only use ATMs situated in well-lit and busy areas, particularly after nightfall. Preferably, use an ATM located indoors, in a bank or one that is monitored by CCTV. Try to steer clear of machines that have been vandalized or mistreated.

                   • Check over the cash machine. Many ATM fraudsters use tactics such as placing false fronts over the card slot to copy, or skim, details. They may also have positioned a small camera inside the hole in the wall or above the keypad to capture PIN entry. If anything looks “stuck on”, it probably is.

                 •  If a machine looks as if it may have been tampered with, avoid using that machine and report it to the machine’s owner immediately. Doing so will reduce the likelihood of other people falling foul of potential fraudsters.

                   People are advised that the threat they face is not just technology-based scams because it is also possible to be tricked into revealing one’s PIN to a stranger or being mugged.

                  • If users feel uneasy about taking cash from a machine in a certain area, they should take a friend along to put off any would-be assailants.

                  •  If they spot anyone loitering around an ATM looking suspicious, they should report them immediately to the police and protect their PIN.

                   • Always place a hand over the keypad to act as a shield while inputting your PIN.

                    • Avoid inputting your PIN if there are people too close by and never reveal the PIN to anyone, not even bank staff.

                     • Four numbers are easy to remember. Never write down the PIN as a note in a wallet or handbag. Doing so will provide thieves with the cards and PIN in one fell swoop, meaning they can access the account straightaway.

                  Consumers are also advised by to never accept help from strangers no matter how friendly or gallant they may appear to be.

                  • If the card gets stuck in a machine, do not leave it there. Report it immediately using your mobile phone.

                  •  If you brought a friend along with you to withdraw cash, one of you can remain at the ATM while the other goes to report it.

                    • Strangers may offer to help, but they can’t. Again, never reveal the PIN to anyone, not even if they claim to work for the bank, the owner of the machine, the local authorities or the police.

            Meanwhile quoted experts as saying a few years ago after hackers infiltrated Citibank ATMs at 7-Eleven stores that an ATM’s safety depends on where it is. If it’s at a bank, an ATM is somewhat safer than it is in a public place, such as a ballpark, a train station or a convenience store.

            “You should never use ATM machines at convenience stores if you can help it because those are much more susceptible to tampering,” Avivah Litan, a security analyst with the Gartner research firm, told

             While consumers can’t do much when hackers break into back-end computers that approve cash withdrawals in order to steal PIN codes, the odds are slim that it would happen to them.

           “It is possible to install malicious software on a banking server to capture an encrypted pin as it passes through, but it is extremely rare,” according to Margot Mohsberg, a spokeswoman for the American Bankers Association.


TOP:  An ATM machine at night. Photo: Chris Dlugosz, CC-BY-2.0

By Thai Residents reporters; Source: and


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