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Sheriff Advises Caution When Using ATMs During Holiday Season

Submitted by the Oswego County Sheriff’s Office

OSWEGO COUNTY, NY – “ATM cards serve as a popular method to access bank accounts for cash, and with that convenience, come certain risks.  ATM machines can be an attractive opportunity for criminals and ATM users need to follow some common sense rules,” says Sheriff Reuel A. Todd.

With the holidays approaching, the use of ATM cards will increase.  At the same time, cash-generating crimes such as burglary, robbery and mugging, historically increase during the holidays.

Sheriff Todd asks that you keep the following suggestions in mind when using ATM machines:

When using a walk-up ATM:

  • Always OBSERVE your surroundings before conducting a transaction
  • If an ATM is obstructed from view or poorly lit, go to another ATM
  • When possible, take a companion along, especially at night
  • Minimize time spent at the ATM by having your card out and ready to use
  • Stand between the ATM and anyone waiting to use the terminal so that others cannot see your code or transaction amount
  • If you see anyone or anything suspicious while conducting a transaction, cancel your transaction and leave
  • Do not count cash at the machine – wait until you are home or in a safe place
  • If you are followed after making an ATM transaction, go immediately to a heavily populated, well-lighted area and call the police

Security at Drive-Up ATM’s:

  • Keep your engine running, the doors locked, and the windows up at all times when waiting in line
  • When possible, leave enough room between cars to allow for a quick exit should it become necessary
  • Before rolling down the window to use the ATM machine, check the entire area for anything or anyone suspicious
  • Minimize time spent at the ATM by having your card out and ready to use
  • Do not count cash at the machine – wait until you are home or in a safe place

Keeping hour ATM card secure:

  • Treat your ATM card like cash
  • Keep your “secret code” a secret
  • Do not give out any information over the telephone
  • Report a lost or stolen card at once
  • Check your receipts against your monthly statement to guard against ATM fraud

These precautions will greatly reduce your chances of being the victim of a crime.  You are strongly urged you to consider these suggestions when using your ATM card at an ATM machine.

Sheriff Todd wishes you all a very safe and enjoyable holiday season.