Before we get into the specifics, let me attempt to nip this issue in the bud right now: AVOID ATM’s if possible!
No matter the type of machine that you use, the #1 Skill-Set you need to exercise when going to the ATM is the most basic of them all: AWARENESS.
Being aware of the general condition of the area, it always pays to notice:
- Is it well-lit?
- Has it been vandalized?
- Is it in a “rough neighborhood?”
If you see something or someone who does not look right, keep moving; there are plenty of ATM’s, but only one of you.
The one saving grace (in a manner of speaking) of ATM’s is almost all of them have internal cameras, so if there is an incident it will be recorded for posterity.
A large percentage of ATM Robberies are solved because of this.
There are two basic types of ATM setups, the drive-thru configuration and the pedestrian configuration. The drive-thru set up is for vehicle traffic while the pedestrian set-up is typically a lone machine set off of a sidewalk, inside a convenient store, etc. There are also the “booth” setups, though not as common, where you actually have to walk into a lobby like small building to use the machine.
The Drive-Thru version brings up some interesting questions.. The fact that you can stay in your LOCKED vehicle and transact your business through your vehicle window greatly improves the odds that you cannot be mugged and/or assaulted.
However you have to make it a point when you drive up, to get your vehicle AS CLOSE to the machine as possible, leaving no room for a would-be mugger to interfere.
If someone approaches and you don’t like it, Hit CANCEL and punch the gas.
The Pedestrian Version poses the most risk and is most exploitable by criminals.
Browse through most YouTube vids of ATM robberies, and 98.9% of them are at pedestrian locations.The typical MO of crook’s that mug people at ATM’s is that they like to “stage up” away from the property.
Like a wolf hunting sheep, they know that if they “hang” around the feeding ground, it will scare off their prey, so they will pick a place that gives them cover and wait.
Stay aware of wooded areas, empty buildings, deserted cars, near the ATM machine; anything that could hide somebody.
If you see anything remotely suspicious, find another ATM. The best option for these types of machines, is to use one INSIDE a business, like a convenience store. It is well lighted, there will typically be some people around (at bare minimum the register clerk) and the chances for robbery are slim.
Safety comes in numbers! Have a buddy with you when you go to the ATM to watch your back.
Ultimately, if you know you are going to need cash, run by the bank ahead of time, even the Drive-Thru if you have to OR one of the best options overall, use the CASH BACK Feature on your bank card while you are at the grocery/convenience store…simple, easy, and extremely low risk!