19 March 2011

An ATM trick to be aware of

I've previously posted a report on ATM "skimmers."  The San Francisco Examiner reports on a simpler ploy designed to trap the unwary:
The thieves glue down the “enter,” “cancel” and “clear” buttons on the keypad and wait until the customer goes into the bank for help before withdrawing money from their account.

The robbed customers have already punched in their PINs when they realize the keypad buttons are stuck. The unwitting customers either do not know that they can use the ATM touchscreen to finish their transaction, or become nervous when the keypad isn’t working and react by leaving the ATM unattended...

There are several nonviolent ways crooks can steal cash from ATMs, but the glue method is less risky, Corriea said. A thief caught applying glue to an ATM would be slapped with a misdemeanor vandalism charge, but likely won’t face a felony fraud charge because it isn’t easy to prove that the crook intended to steal...
More details (and other ATM tricks) at the link, via BoingBoing.


  1. Another good reason to withdraw cash as part of a purchase. That and you avoid fees that way too.

    ...not that I even use cash anymore. The money I'd gotten as an xmas gift was the last cash in my wallet. I'd spent that within a couple of weeks.

  2. Of course I don't know if the typical US ATM would do that, but I am reasonably sure that the ones in Germany will cancel any transaction once a certain time limit is reached without user input. So all you'd have to do is stand there and wait to get your card back. I'll test it when I'm at the bank next time.

    Of course it's easy to panic when in such a situation, so that option may not come to mind.


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