Mattu & Mittu


Your ATM Safety Guide

  • February 28, 2017
  • rootroot

Last year, in 2016, over 3.2 million Debit Cards from different banks were victims of an ATM security breach that involved a malware infestation. This issue was brought to light when SBI declared the cancellation of about 6 lakh Debit Cards issued by it. This issue was not limited to just one bank, as several banks realized that a data breach had compromised a lot of customers’ Debit Cards.

Though ATMs and Debit Cards provide us with a lot of convenience, there are a number of instances that prove that we as consumers need to remain vigilant. This brief guide about the most common ATM frauds, and the Do’s and Don’ts of using an ATM should help you stay away from such occurrences.

The Most Common Frauds

Jamming the Keypad

The ‘Enter’ and ‘Cancel’ buttons are jammed with pins or glue. As a customer tries to press the ‘Enter’ key after entering the pin and it doesn’t work, they believe the machine is broken. The Cancel button too fails to work; the customer would exit at this point, leaving a 30 second window for the fraudster to complete one transaction, limited by the withdrawal ceiling. This is considered as negligence on the part of the customer and banks do not take responsibility for this fraud.

Swapping the Card

Using a card at a shop or a fuel station leaves one open to this kind of fraud. The fraudster only has to look at your PIN that is entered and then hand you a similar looking but different card, keeping yours with themselves.


This is a very sophisticated kind of fraud and is a liability for banks, where any loss for the customer is compensated. A skimming device is planted at the card slot on the ATM which reads the magnetic strip of the card and copies it, to reproduce on any other card. A small camera is also placed right on the kiosk to record the PIN entered by the card holders. The customers have to report misuse as soon as the first out-of-place transaction happens.

About ATM Security and How to Avoid Frauds

There is always something that we as consumers can do; and taking precautions to ensure safety is rather obvious.

The Do’s

  • Always ensure that you are alone near the kiosk and that no one can see you enter your PIN

  • After you have completed the transaction, wait for the ‘Welcome’ screen to show

  • Make sure the bank has your updated contact details so you may receive immediate message alerts for transactions

  • Avoid strangers trying to converse at the ATM, or suspicious people around the kiosk

  • After a transaction, check if the card given back is yours

  • Look for any extra devices on the ATM

  • For lost or stolen cards or for transactions you didn’t do, inform your bank immediately

  • Check transaction statements regularly

The Don’ts

  • Don’t write your PIN anywhere, memorize!

  • Don’t accept a stranger’s help at the ATM

  • Don’t hand your card to strangers

  • Don’t share your PIN, even with bank officials

  • Don’t let your card be out of sight

Sometimes it is the little steps that we take that can help us avoid major problems and frauds. Stay vigil, stay alert.

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