Self-Defense Tip of the Month from FAST Defense
One of the most frequent questions the FAST Defense teams around the world get is how to be safe when getting cash out at the ATM.
In easy terms, ATMs offer the predators of the world access to easy cash from people that are preoccupied by the process of making the withdrawal.
Here are some simple tips that will make the whole process safer for you.
- Try to plan your withdrawals in advance so you can use the machines in the safest places (inside the bank is a great one).
- Maintain your awareness. Look around on the way to the machine. Is anyone loitering (including in cars)?
- Listen to your awareness. If it feels wrong, it probably is wrong. You can always go to a different machine.
- If you can, have a spotter – someone who looks outwards while you are facing inwards.
- Don’t count the cash in the open. Put it away immediately and move away. If the cash is wrong, you probably can’t do anything immediately anyway.
- Keep your card ready in advance. Searching wallets and purses is a great distraction that predators love to see.
- Protect your space. Don’t let people queue too close behind you. If they are too close, politely ask them to move back. If you aren’t comfortable doing that, pretend you’ve forgotten something and move out of the line.
- If you are in the middle of the transaction, you can always press cancel and leave. If you are feeling uncomfortable, you could try a bit of deception like:
‘WHAT DO YOU MEAN I HAVE NO MONEY; STUPID MACHINE’
- Keep your PIN safe and always take your receipts with you.
- Look out for machines with unusual or larger than usual card readers. Card skimming (recording your information with an illegal electronic reader) is becoming more of a problem.
- After you leave the ATM, be aware of anyone watching or following you.
Remember, whilst we have some of the finest police forces worldwide, they can only react once a problem has occurred.
Try to become your own bodyguard. You don’t have to become a paranoid ‘urban ninja’; just use good common sense and your instincts.