Social media can be a great source of information. On Facebook alone, you can read articles, watch videos, learn new recipes, see cute baby pictures, and stalk your ex-girlfriend. Ok, wait. Forget about that last part. The point is, you can learn a lot. Sometimes, the information is good. Sometimes, it isn’t.
Recently, we’ve seen an ATM “public service announcement” making the rounds again on Facebook. And, it’s not often that bank-related PSAs go viral on Facebook, that is, unless they’re to warn you about an upcoming bank holiday.
ATMs are Surprisingly Simple
First off, I hope no one has relied on this information when using an ATM, because it’s completely false.
While some ATMs now feature “smart” capabilities (like depositing checks or video chatting with bank employees), most ATMs don’t have a phone line.
Regardless of which ATM you use, that ATM takes your card data, connects (via the internet) to your bank, verifies your PIN, and gets the authorization to complete the transaction. And, that’s really all the ATM does. If the PIN doesn’t match exactly, the transaction is simply denied. That’s it.
To my knowledge, no ATM is programmed to recognize an incorrect PIN as a distress call, much less contact the local police department.
ATM Safety 101
In light of that, here are some handy tips for staying safe at an ATM that do work:
- Keep Your Eyes Open. If you see anyone or anything suspicious, leave immediately. Use another ATM.
- Use a well-lit, clearly visible ATM. Avoid ATMs that are poorly-lit or that can’t be seen easily by passersby.
- Conduct your transactions quickly. Minimize the time you spend at any ATM. Put your card, money and receipt away quickly and leave the area.
- Keep your vehicle doors locked. Also, keep your engine running and windows rolled up (except the driver’s window, of course).
- Watch for followers. Having a lot of social media followers is usually a good thing, but followers at an ATM are not. If someone follows you after leaving the ATM, go to a crowded place and call 911.
And lastly, if you’re using your bank’s ATM and notice that a light is out, please notify them. As banks, we try to keep a very close eye on the safety of our ATMs, but help from customers is always appreciated. CNB customers can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, call 254.776.3800, or tweet us (@CentralNatlBank).
About the Author:
Chris Watkins is the director of security at Central National Bank. He is quite the history buff, enjoys reading and collecting books, and can tell you just about anything you’d ever want to know regarding vintage airplanes (1910’s to 1940’s). He serves on the board of directors for the Greater Hewitt Chamber of Commerce and is the president of the Hewitt Kiwanis Club.