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Protect your Financial Welfare: Proceed with Caution to an ATM

Most people consider it very safe to pull money from automated-teller machines (ATMs) for quick withdrawals of cash. Unfortunately, there are scammers who are using ATMs to steal your personal information, including your PIN number, debit card number, expiration date on your card and any other information encoded on your card's magnetic strip. Con artists tamper with ATMs and use skimming devices that allow them to steal from unsuspecting consumers by recreating your card and gaining access to your accounts.

You are probably asking, how do I ensure that I don't become a victim of this type of scam? Below are a few guidelines you should consider following:

• Be observant when using an ATM. You should look for strategically placed mirrors and brochure holders near the machine you are using that can hide cameras. You should closely examine the ATM for anything that does not appear normal, especially skimming devices installed over the card-reader slot.

• Try to use ATMs that are located at banks or other financial institutions. These are typically monitored more closely than the machines located in high-traffic areas.

• When you are entering your PIN number, use your other hand to cover the keyboard.

• If you notice anything out of the ordinary about the ATM, do not use it and be sure to report it to the authorities. One common "red flag" is if the color scheme on the ATM is different from your bank or the logo appears different, do not use the machine.

• Educate yourself on what skimming devices look like. Also make sure you look around for hidden cameras near the ATM. By following these few simple steps, you can save yourself a lot of time and heartache that comes with having your identity and/or your money stolen. If your gut instinct is telling you that something about the ATM is suspicious, don't risk it. As the saying goes..."better safe than sorry."

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If you are facing financial struggles and you need help, contact Levitt & Slafkes, PC, at 973-323-2953. You can also reach us by filling out our online form. We represent debtors in Chapter 7, Chapter 13 and Chapter 11 filings. Let us help you get the fresh financial start you need today.

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