The primary focus of the ATM Crime Prevention Program is
user safety. Due to heightened user awareness and prevention applications,
a recent survey indicated that ATM crime incidents are on a downward trend.
Because of the variety of ATMs, the unique characteristics of each installation,
and crime considerations at each location, no single formula can guarantee
the security of ATM customers. Therefore, it is necessary for ATM customers
to consider the environment around each ATM and various procedures for
remaining safe when using an ATM. Criminals select their victims and targets,
focusing on the unaware or unprepared. Criminals are also drawn to environmental
conditions that enhance the opportunity to successfully complete their
crime. The attitude and demeanor you convey can have a tremendous effect
on potential assailants. There are a number of things you can do to increase
your personal security and reduce your risk of becoming an ATM crime victim.
The following crime prevention tips can help make the use of ATM's safer
- Walk purposefully and with confidence. Give the
appearance that you are totally aware of your surroundings
- Be aware of your total environment and what is going
on around you. Criminals tend to avoid people who have this type of
- Perform mental exercises and think out what you
would do in different crime or personal security situations
- Follow your instincts. If you feel you are in danger,
respond immediately. Remember that your personal safety is the first
The law sets minimum standards for ATM lighting, procedures for evaluating
the safety of ATM's and requires notices to ATM users outlining basic
safety precautions for using ATM's. Although ATM environmental design
issues are covered in the law, there are other considerations that an
ATM customer needs to consider prior to selecting and using an ATM. For
- Do not select an ATM at the corner of a building.
Corners create a blind area in close proximity to the customer's transaction.
Select an ATM located near the center of a building. An ATM further
from the corner reduces the element of surprise by an assailant and
increases effective reaction time by the user
- Identify an ATM with maximum natural surveillance
and visibility from the surrounding area. This will create a perceived
notion of detection by a criminal and increases the potential for witnesses
- Select an ATM at a location void of barriers blocking
the line of sight of the ATM. This includes shrubbery, landscaping,
signs and decorative partitions or dividers. Barriers provide hiding
areas for would-be assailants· Select an ATM that is in a well-lighted
- Whenever possible, select an ATM that is monitored
or patrolled by a security officer
- Select an ATM with a wide-angle transaction camera
and/or a continuous transaction surveillance camera. Consult the bank
or location management for this information
- Solicit prior criminal activity statistics from
law enforcement for the ATM site and surrounding neighborhood
- Avoid ATM locations with large perimeter parking
lots and numerous ingress and egress points
Considerations Prior To and During Transactions
- Always watch for suspicious persons or activity
around an ATM. Be aware of anyone sitting in a parked car in close proximity
to or at a distance from the ATM location
- If you notice anything strange, leave and return
some other time. Even if you have already started a transaction, cancel
it and leave.
- Maintain a small supply of deposit envelopes at
home, in your car or office. Prepare all transaction paperwork prior
to your arrival at the ATM site. This will minimize the amount of time
spent at the ATM
- Maintain an awareness of your surroundings throughout
the entire transaction. Do not become so involved with your transaction
that you are not aware of changing conditions in the area
- Do not wear expensive jewelry or take other valuables
to the ATM. This is an added incentive to an assailant.
- If you get cash - put it away right immediately.
Do not stand at the ATM and count it.
- Never accept offers of assistance with the ATM from
strangers; ask the bank for help.
- Never lend your ATM card to anyone; treat it as
if were cash or a credit card.
- If you use a drive-up ATM, be certain your vehicle
doors and windows are locked.
- During evening hours consider taking a companion
along, park close to the ATM in a well lighted area and lock your car.
If the lights around the ATM are not working properly, do not use it.
- When leaving an ATM location make sure you are not
being followed. If you are being followed, drive immediately to a police,
sheriff or fire station, crowded area, well-lighted location or open
business. Flash your lights and sound your horn to bring attention to
- If you are involved in a confrontation and the attacker
is armed with a weapon and demands your money or valuables, GIVE
IT TO THE SUSPECT. Do not resist, property may be recovered later
- Memorize your Personal Identification Number (PIN).
Do not write it down or keep it in your wallet or purse. Do not tell
anyone else your PIN ANYONE !! (including bank employees, the police,
- Shield the ATM keypad from anyone who may be standing
or parked nearby or anyone crowding you in an attempt to view your PIN
and/or transaction. Use your body as a shield if necessary while you
enter your access code.
- Make sure you retain your transaction receipt. Do
not throw the receipt away at the ATM site.
- Immediately report any stolen or lost ATM card to
the proper entities
As far as your security is concerned, you can never
be too careful, too prepared or too aware. Share this information with
family and friends. Schedule family discussions and practice regularly
to ensure that everyone you know is safe and informed.