Beware Of No Name ATMs

ABM Scams & Tips

Canadians carry roughly 35 million debit cards and its no wonder scam artists are coming up with innovative technics to tamper ATM machines. ATM thefts are on the rise at an alarming rate. What can you do about it? My number one recommendation - Be extremely cautious using a No Name ATM machine.

What do I mean by No Name ATM? These are the machines not operated by well-known financial institutions such as TD, CIBC etc. Sometimes these are called White Label machines or Stand-Alone ATMs. No Name machines are privately owned and operated. You will see No Name machines in next-door grocery stores, bars, casinos, malls ... virtually everywhere. Follow these tips to protect yourself from scam artists:

  • No Name ATM can cost you somewhere between $2 to $5 service fees, in addition to your own bank fess. Do you really need cash that desperately at this moment? How about walking a couple of blocks to withdraw from your own bank's ATM?
  • Scam artists use hidden cameras, scanning devices, peep holes, card readers to copy your P. I. N. and card info to produce clones(same as yours). Later on, scammers will use those clone cards to purchase or simply they will empty out your bank accounts.
  • Cover you key pad so the person behind you can't see your key-punch. Covering key pad will also prevent hidden cameras taking your key-punch shots from the top or from the side.
  • If you notice anything unusual or suspicious, refrain from using the ATM. Examples of unusual or suspicious things are: slot does not feel right when you insert card, visible attachments to the slot or to anywhere on ATM, unusual messages on the screen or on anywhere on ATM, messages asking to use one particular ATMs, individuals standing nearby posing as technicians or customers.
  • You should not have to force your card into the slot. If your card gets stuck in an ATM, call your bank immediately

It's a good idea to use ATMs which you are already familiar with. Pick a well-lit ATM in a good neighbourhood.  If you findanything suspicious(either individuals or anything your are not comfortable with), do not use the ATM and leave that place. Always take precautions and be vigilant when using an ATM. Be always safe.

First Published: Aug 10, 2007