Risky Places to Use a Debit Card
Outdoor ATMs are conveniently located in close proximity to wherever it is you're likely to make a purchase. So we tend to use them, even when they are operated by third parties, not bank, and even when they charge a fee for use. But these are among the worst places to withdraw money, as they are vulnerable to criminal gangs who put skimmers on them and mount cameras to steal information as you enter your PIN. The rule of thumb is, if the general public has access to it, then someone has the ability to add skimming devices and cameras to it. Use ATMs inside a bank or a retail outlet or other high-trafficked, well-lit places.
Julie McNelley, senior analyst for Aite Group LLC, a Boston-based financial services research firm, says even the card terminals that card users must swipe to get into ATM vestibules are being used as a skimming site by criminals. You can spot ATM skimmers by checking for ATM components that look beat-up or askew, she says.