Tuesday, December 23, 2003
What Would You Do: Guarding Against ATM Thieves
Money machines have made everybody's life so much easier - inlcuding thieves. That's because instant cash can also mean instant crime. But tonight, Seven's Charles Perez shows what you should do if you were robbed at the ATM.
(WSVN) -- Earlier this month ... cameras were rolling when a South Florida woman was ambushed at the ATM.
"They know the person going to the machine is likely getting money. Very few people would go out late at night to make a deposit."
In this case ... the man approached as she was using the machine and started talking to her ... When she went to leave ... he pushed her down.
"If you do see somebody approaching on foot that should set off a warning to you that's out of the ordinary."
Police say, most of the time, other ATM users stand back giving you lots of privacy.
"If someone approaches you in anyway.... just cancel your transaction. Even if you leave your card, most machines will maintain it internally, and you can report it to the bank in the morning."
We had police critique one of our producer's use of the ATM.
"She didn't pay attention as she walked up. She's now fumbling for her card. She's not looking around behind her to see if someone is approaching."
So what do you do ...
Let's back it up and try again.
Right away. Laura looks around before she ever leaves the safety of her car.
"She's paying attention to her surroundings, as she approaches the machine. She has her card available to her so she can immediately access the machine and begin the transaction."
By keeping her body turned to the wall ... No one can approach her from behind.
After the transaction ... She pockets her money and keeps looking around as she goes back to the car.
Abetter option for Laura may be to avoid walking up to a deserted ATM and come to a place like this. A well-lit, well-populated convenience store. Yeah, she may have to pay a buck fifty to get her cash but isn't that worth your life?
"It's usually better to go to a facility that's well-lighted and there's somebody around"
Now, another option for Laura is to use a drive-up ATM. That way, if someone suspicious approaches, she can just step on the gas."
Police advise that if you ever find yourself in a bad situation ... just leave. Leave your money, leave your card.
"What if somebody pulls a weapon on you? What do you do?"
"Give them whatever they want. Offer no resistance. Give them whatever it takes to get the person away from you."
Because, after all ... it's just money.
Next week, what do you do if you're driving next to a drunk driver? Charles will show us how to avoid an accident.
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