6 Tips for Protection at the ATM










by Barbara Nevins Taylor

The $45 million global ATM heist is a good reminder to take extra care when we use an ATM.  While the team of cyber hackers and ground level crooks didn’t steal money from individuals, they did work the ATMs at local banks.

Here’s what they did.

Loretta Lynch, the U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn, New York said an international team of hackers went into bank data bases, eliminated withdrawal limits on pre-paid cards and stole  PIN numbers. Then they turned the codes over to local “cells” of cashers who encoded the PINs on ordinary cards, such as gift cards, which like ATM cards have magnetic stripes.  The cashers took the cards and in New York withdrew $2.8 million in a few hours.

The leader of the gang, Alberto Yusi Lajud-Pena, was found dead in the Dominican Republic on April 27, 2013 in what was described as robbery. Seven defendants, residents of Yonkers, were arrested and indicted in New York.

6 Tips for Using the ATM

This is all common sense but we often forget to pay attention when we’re in a hurry.

1. Make sure others don’t see the PIN number you tap in.

2. Make sure the ATM that you use doesn’t have a skimmer overlay that can steal your information. Some crooks place the skimmers over the top of  regular ATM keypads. They may also hide a camera that takes video and watches your fingers as you type your PIN number.

3. Be careful about who is around when you use an ATM.

4. If you see anything, or anyone suspicious, cancel the transaction and leave.

5. If someone follows you, call the police.

6. Check your bank statements regularly.


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Barbara Nevins Taylor

As the winner of 22 Emmy Awards and a slew of journalism honors and awards, I created ConsumerMojo.com to give you the straight story about complicated stuff. Tell us what you want to know and we'll get you the answers.