ATM Fraud

The other day I was coming back from Wilmington and heard the Clark Howard show on the radio. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard this guy, but it was an interesting show. Apparently the latest scam is to purchase one of those private-label ATM machines that you see in the bars and convenience stores. Then you actually have people feeding you their card numbers and PINs. All you have to do is use ’em. One person allegedly came away with $3 million. Not a bad deal if you can get away with it. And do away with the stealing part.

About 15 years ago, I spent a couple thousand dollars over the course of a summer, solely in $20 and $40 chunks from the ATM. I’ve sworn off them since. Plus, I could never understand the principle of paying for your own money. Yes, I realize some banks offer free ATMs and others offer rebates of charges. Not the point. Many of them do charge, and these private ATMs are often the worst of the lot, charging up to $5 per transaction. Ridiculous!

News like this new fraud scheme makes it seem like an even better decision. Other than the aforementioned charges, how many people really think that the ATM is going to rip them off? I can almost hear it now: Surely the ATM is good – it gives me money! Even though I don’t use them, I would never have thought that one of those machines could be operated by someone interested in hijacking the information. I guess I thought that they were all related to the bank somehow and that made them legit. Guess I was wrong!