A customer using an ATM at a Folly Road bank office was robbed Friday night, the second such robbery at the same bank in as many days. About 9:10 p.m., two men approached a woman who had made a withdrawal from the ATM at the Bank of America branch office on Folly Road, said Charles Francis, Charleston police public information officer. At least one of the men was armed with a handgun. The men demanded that the woman turn over her cash and cell phone, and she complied.
ATM ROBBERY FACTS
ATMs are a great convenience, but they can compromise your safety if you are not careful. A robber looking for easy prey only has to stake out an ATM in a low-traffic, dimly lit area and bide his time. As all categories of theft are on the rise across the nation, we’re providing these ATM safety tips to help protect you, your account and your life. Remember, ATM theft can occur two ways – unauthorized withdrawals from an account or the physical theft of cash as a person completes a transaction.
Most bank ATM robberies occur at night between 7pm and midnight when the machine only produces 10% of the daily transactions. Between 7pm and 4am, the ATMs handle only 11% of the total daily transactions but suffer 60% of the crime.
ATM SAFETY TIPS
- As always be mindful of your surroundings. Don’t select an ATM at the corner of a building — corners create a blind spot. Do your automated banking in a public, well-lighted, high traffic locations that is free of shrubbery and decorative partitions or dividers.
- Maintain an awareness of your surroundings throughout the entire transaction. Be wary of people trying to help you with ATM transactions. Be aware of anyone sitting in a parked car nearby. When leaving an ATM make sure you are not being followed. If you are followed or think you are, drive immediately to a police or fire station, or to a crowded, well-lighted location or business.
- If lights around the ATM are not working, don’t use that machine
- Do not use an ATM that appears unusual looking or offers options with which you are not familiar or comfortable. There are machines that thieves stick on top of ATM machines called skimmers that steal your banking information
- When using a walk-up ATM, park as close as you can to the machine. Before leaving the safety of your car, check for suspicious persons or circumstances. Have your ATM card ready before you approach the machine
- Use your body to block the view of your transaction. Especially as you enter your PIN and take your cash. If necessary, ask a person to leave, even if that person is just curious. If the ATM is in use, give the person using the machine the same privacy you expect. Allow them to move away from the ATM before you approach the machine. Having a friend with you is also beneficial.
- Do not wear expensive jewelry or take other valuables to the ATM. This is an added incentive to the robber.
- Never count cash at the machine or in public. Wait until you are in your locked car or another secure place.
- When using a drive-up ATM, keep your engine running, your doors locked and leave enough room to maneuver between your car and the one ahead of you in the drive-up line.
- Beware of a car that ‘accidentally’ bumps into yours, if you are at a drive-up ATM, and have gotten your cash (SEE: Bump and Crime)
- Maintain a supply of deposit envelopes at home or in your car. Prepare all transaction paperwork prior to your arrival at the ATM. This will minimize the amount of time spent at the machine.
- Many of the new ATM’s will take your cash or check without envelopes, so be extra careful especially if you are depositing cash. If possible do these transactions inside a bank.
- Closely monitor your bank statements, as well as your balances, and immediately report any problems to your bank.
- If you are involved in a confrontation with an armed robber who demands your money, COMPLY. Your cash is not worth your life.
- Some banks offer secure ATM’s that can only be accessed with a bank card. If you have the opportunity, use these. If possible, have someone go with you to the ATM.
- Do not leave your car running or the keys in the ignition as you walk up to an ATM. As you return after your transaction, have your car keys and your pepper spray ready and check around and under your vehicle.
- If there are other people at the ATM you want to use, remain in your car with the doors locked and widows up until they leave, or go to another ATM.
- When using a drive-up ATM, keep your doors locked and windows up until you are ready to use the machine, Keep cash, checks, or money bags out of sight until you are ready for your transaction.
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