Protect yourself at the ATMYou might think it’s perfectly safe to pull money out of ATM machines, but thieves have other ideas.

Last year, the number of debit cards compromised at ATMs and merchant card readers increased by 10%.1

Even more alarming, the jump follows two years of major increases in this type of fraud, according to FICO, which released the report.  In 2016, for instance, fraud targeting these machines rose 70%.

Here are five ways to make sure that crooks don’t steal your money when you use cash machines:

1. Be careful which cash machines you use.

According to FICO, roughly 60% of the debit-card compromises were at non-bank ATMs. The remainder happened at bank ATMs and card payment machines at retailers such as gas stations.

2. Check card readers.

Examine the card reader at ATM machines and point-of-sale machines. Does it look like it doesn’t belong? Or can you insert or withdraw the card smoothly? Don’t hesitate to report suspicions to a bank.

3. Be watchful.

Monitor your bank accounts regularly to spot any irregularities.

4. Consider using credit cards.

It’s understandable that some consumers prefer using debit cards because they believe that they can better control their spending. Credit cards, however, provide greater protection when a theft occurs.

Your liability for fraud on your credit card will typically be $0. Your exposure to fraud on a debit card will, in part, depend on how long it takes you to discover the theft and report it. If you report a theft within two days, the maximum you can lose is $50, according to federal law. If you don’t discover and report it within 60 days, you risk losing $500. Wait longer and you could lose the entire amount.

In addition, banks typically have 10 days to investigate and consumers must deal with any fall out, such as bounced checks and empty accounts until the banks act.

Ironically, a recent survey suggests that two-thirds of Americans trust debit cards more than credit cards.2

5. Stick with ATMs that are in more secure locations.

For instance, use machines that are located inside a financial institution rather than in a convenience store or on the street.

1) source: http://www.fico.com/
2) source: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/15/people-love-their-debit-cards-but-that-could-be-a-big-mistake.html
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