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ATM Safety: What You Need To Know

By Ashleigh, K-Staff

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ATMs are convenient—but that convenience also makes them an attractive target for thieves. Following a few simple guidelines can help keep you, your information, and your money safe. 

  • Never tell anyone your PIN. ATM transactions require this number combination, and it’s the biggest safeguard you have against unauthorized activity. Do not write it down, tell anyone, or let someone else enter the code for you. Memorize it.
  • Take your receipt with you. Do not leave it at or near the ATM. Many receipts don’t have full account numbers, but any information at all can be dangerous in the wrong hands.
  • Do not give out information about your ATM card over the phone or online. Kirtland FCU will never ask you for your PIN.
  • Report a lost or stolen card immediately. Prompt reporting reduces the chance someone will use it fraudulently. To report a lost or stolen credit card or report fraudulent activity, call: 1-800-449-7728. To report a lost or stolen debit card or report fraudulent activity, give us a call at 1-800-880-5328. 
  • Check your receipts against your monthly statements. Verify each transaction.


There are physical safeguards you can follow while using an ATM that will also help protect your money as well as your safety.

  • Always check your surroundings before beginning the transaction. If you see something suspicious, leave the area. 
  • Inspect the card slot before inserting it. Thieves use swiper devices (learn more) that fit over the slot to steal your card information right off your card. If any part of the slot looks loose or out of place, do NOT insert your card.
  • If the ATM is poorly lit or obstructed from view, try another ATM.
  • Have your card out and ready before approaching. Minimizing the time you spend at the ATM is crucial. Also, digging through a bag or wallet can distract you from your surroundings.
  • Block the view of the transaction. Stand between the ATM and any other person in the area so others cannot see your PIN entry or transaction amount. Use your hand to shield your entries from above. Thieves sometimes install cameras to try to capture a PIN as it’s entered.
  • Strength in numbers. When possible, take a companion along to an ATM, especially at night.
  • If you see anything suspicious, cancel your transaction and leave the area.
  • If anyone follows you after an ATM transaction, go immediately to a crowded, well-lit area and call the police.


If anyone approaches you at an ATM asking you to withdraw money for them, say no and leave the area immediately. Do not do favors involving an ATM (read why here).

ATMs are an easy target for thieves, whether they’re after a quick cash grab or your identity. Your safety is paramount. If you’re uneasy at any point, leave the area. Withdrawing money at a branch or as part of a cash-back transaction at a store are also alternative options. 

But with good habits and awareness, ATMs can offer the convenience and ease of access you need. That’s why we’re proud to be part of the CU Anytime/ CO-OP Network, with more than 30,000 nationwide ATMs—fee-free!

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