Safety Tips at the ATM

August 2, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Security Information

Automated Tellers Machines (ATMs) are a convenient and easy way to get cash. Common sense is your best guide when using ATMs. Trust your instincts and use ATMs only where you feel safe and comfortable.

Each time you use an ATM, keep the following safety tips in mind:

  • Be alert and conscious of your surroundings when using the ATM.
  • Never give your card or PIN( Personal Identification Number) to anyone, for any reason.
  • Dont write your PIN on the card or anything that is kept with the card.
  • Do not insert your card until asked to do so by the display screen.
  • Never use an ATM with a blank screen and, if the ATM is obscured from view or poorly lit, leave immediately and find another ATM.
  • Stand close to the ATM and use your body and hand as shield to make sure nobody sees you keying in your pin.
  • Also, make sure you keep your hand over the card slot to make sure nobody can swop or take your card.
  • Never accept help from strangers when using an ATM. You should be wary of strangers asking for help.
  • Criminals work in teams- one to distract you while the other steals your card or money.
  • If your card is retained (swallowed) by the ATM it is advisable to phone your bank toll free stop card line immediately and stop your card.
  • Never allow a bystander to call the toll-free stop card line on your behalf- they could be tricking you into thinking your card has been stopped.
  • Guards are placed at ATMs to discourage criminal activities and therefore cannot help you with transactions.
  • If you need help, ask a bank official.
  • It is advisable to set a daily ATM withdrawal limit at your branch.


  • Explosions at Automated Tellers Machines are a new crime that reared its ugly head in 2006.
  • It has spiralled since then.
  • When approaching the ATM and it has been damaged, report to 10111 immediately in the following cases:
  1. If an ATM has been damaged or if any unknown items protrude from it.
  2. If smoke or flames are visible at or in the machine as this is a sure sign of a pending explosion. (Also move away from the ATM immediately)
  3. In case of suspicious activity/persons at or near an ATM
  • Once the charges have been activated there is nothing that can be done to deactivate the explosives.
  • Shrapnel and debris from an explosion can travel for several hundred metres.
  • People must be moved away as far as possible and take cover behind something solid, such as a building.

South African Police Service