Staying safe at the ATM – what to watch out for

Staying safe at the ATM – what to watch out for

When withdrawing money, you should ensure the transaction is done safely by being aware of  the dangers. So how do you ensure your cash is safe at the ATM?

Most ATM scams are quite basic which means that with the right knowledge, you should be able to spot and avoid them.

Two tricks popular with fraudsters are skimming and silicon traps. The best way to defeat these is to know how to avoid them. Therefore, we will briefly explain how they work and what to look for so you can stay safe at the ATM!


Skimming is a technique where a little magnetic strip recorder is placed in the bank card slot. Once a card has been inserted that strip will scan and read your card. This is normally coupled with a fake keyboard or camouflaged camera to obtain the PIN. To check ATMs for this, try to move the keyboard. By doing this, you can check whether its loose or if it’s part of the ATM. Do the same with the plastic that surrounds the slot for your bank card. To secure yourself even more, always remember to protect your PIN by putting your hand over the keypad when typing.


To double up your security, check your transactions regularly to detect any irregularities as soon as possible.

The Silicone Scam

This is a bit more tricky for people to notice. Silicon will be slotted into the slot where notes come out from. When you’re withdrawing your money, the bank notes will get stuck to the silicon. This will panic you thinking the ATM stole your money. Once you’ve left, the fraudster will retrieve your cash without you even knowing that it was purposeful! Another example of this can also be when someone pretends to help you out, so be careful who you talk to.

Remember to always check the ATM for anything suspicious before you begin your transaction.

If you spot something that’s not quite right, notify the bank or the person in charge of the ATM. You can always find a customer service number on the ATM in case something happens or you see something suspicious.

Of course, it’s always better to prevent than to cure but do not become too paranoid since some of the ATM machines have new technologies installed. For example, our Euronet has recently have installed barcode readers onto our ATMs (which look a little like cameras!) to allow contactless withdrawals with your mobile phone.

Moral of the story, if you’re not sure, ask someone!

These are the usual tricks scammers go for, but it’s worth doing your research to stay up-to-date and safe! Feel free to contact us if you’d like further guidance!

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