PMO shares ATM safety, security tips

25 Jan 2007 | Lance Cpl. Patrick M. Fleischman

Automatic Teller Machines have revolutionized banking allowing customers to do their banking 24 hours a day. They also, however, have been a great help for thieves looking for quick cash.

Combating the problem the Provosts Martial’s Office has released their 10 tips to avoid ATM crime.

“We want to raise awareness aboard the base because there has been an increase in crime around the area,” said Boisy Pardue, crime prevention specialists for PMO. “Criminals select their victims and targets by focusing on the unaware or unprepared.”

Criminals are also drawn to environmental conditions that enhance the opportunity to successfully complete their crime, added Pardue.

“The attitude and demeanor you convey can have a tremendous effect on the potential assailants,” said Pardue.

On base, there have been more than seven ATM related crimes in the last year, said Pardue.

“There are a number of things you can do to increase your personal security and reduce your risk of becoming an ATM crime victim,” said Pardue.

PMO’s 10 tips to avoid ATM crime:

Be aware of your surroundings.  If the lights at the site are not operating properly or there is overgrown shrubbery, do not approach the ATM.

Be prepared to use the machine.  Have your card ready and deposits prepared, so you can complete your transaction quickly.

Do not let others observe you as you input your PIN number at the ATM.

Do not choose an obvious PIN like your date of birth or Social Security number.

Wait until you are in the car with the doors locked before counting your money.  Keep your wallet or cash out of the view of others.

While using a drive-up ATM, make sure all doors are locked, passenger windows are rolled up and the engine is running.  Utilize your mirrors to maintain your awareness of the surrounding area and remain in your vehicle.

Never approach an ATM if you see suspicious people near the machine or if you have any doubts or fears for your safety.  If you become suspicious while conducting a transaction, cancel the transaction and find another ATM.

When possible, bring someone with you to use the ATM.  Remember safety in numbers.

Do not regularly use an ATM that is not protected by security cameras.

Lastly, whenever possible, select an ATM that is monitored or patrolled by a security officer.

So what should a victim do after a crime?

If a card is stolen immediately contact the police department in the areas and contact the financial institution responsible for the ATM card, said Pardue

“Thieves typically have about a four to eight hour window that they can use stolen ATM and credit cards since owners don’t report them stolen right away.  You may not be liable for any items debited from your account if you report it right away,” concluded Pardue.

For more information contact the Camp Lejeune Crime Resistance Unit at 910-451-5810.