ATM robberies have become more prevalent around the world. Would be robbers find it easy to sit and wait for a person to make a withdraw from an ATM and then rob them for guaranteed cash. How can we help ourselves not be a victim of an ATM robbery? Easy! Don’t go to walk up ATM’s at night or even during the day. If you must get money out of an ATM you should ask yourself if this is the ATM you want to use. Is this the place to go to use an ATM? If you have any delay in answering these questions or bad feelings about it then move on. If you can, find a drive up ATM, stay in your vehicle and make the transaction. If you need to make a quick escape at least you have a one ton vehicle at your disposal.
A very important piece of the puzzle is Situational Awareness. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Making note in your mind of what is around you and listening to your senses of what feels right and what feels wrong. If something feels wrong immediately leave and get to a safe place. Do not ignore these feelings. I have interviewed many a victim in hospital emergency rooms who told me they had a bad feeling about what they were doing, they ignored that feeling and it turned out bad for them.
Here are four different ways ATM robberies can take place.
1. A robber approaches a person using the ATM and forces the victim to remove cash and give it to him.
2. The robber forces you to hand over the ATM card and your PIN number so he can withdraw the money on his own. This is a robbery that most likely took place away from a bank or ATM.
3. The robber stakes out a particular ATM, then when someone withdraws money from that ATM they are followed and at some point robbed at gunpoint.
4. A robbery happens at one location and then that victim is abducted and taken to another ATM and then forced to withdraw money. The robbers have been known to drive around town to several ATM’s with the victim in order to make several withdraws.
When you are standing in front of an ATM going through the procedure to get cash out and you feel like the person (gut feeling) who just walked up behind you or is sitting in the car in the parking lot watching you is preparing to rob you then hit the “cancel” button and act like you were unable to get cash out due to insufficient funds! Use your angry voice and yell out loud blaming someone for the insufficient funds and unavailable cash. Then walk away in a huff and with a purpose to a safe place or your vehicle. This “act” could bring attention to you which the bad guy doesn’t want!
Remember! Situational awareness and listening to your gut feelings will help keep you out of trouble. Pay attention and be a Hard Target!