Automated teller machines (ATM) are rightly nicknamed anytime money. They have become ubiquitous and visiting one, wherever it is situated, has become part of a daily routine, especially in an urban set-up.
Most of the times we take cash withdrawal from an ATM casually, not realising that a little carelessness could cost us our hard earned money. Shoulder surfing is such a danger associated with ATMs. Read on to find out the hows and whys.
Shoulder surfing is, in simple terms, when someone stands close to you or at such a close distance, in order to get information. This mostly happens at open ATMs. Since such ATMs do not have a booth, the next person is in line even as you are operating it. In a country like India, where traffic jams are applicable not only to vehicles but to human beings as well, one can’t expect people to keep a reasonable distance at such open ATMs.
So while using an open ATM, be careful that nobody is shoulder surfing you. You never know, the person shoulder surfing could be a fraudster, who stands close to you to get the personal identification number (PIN) of your card while you are feeding it.
What could happen: Once your PIN is compromised, it can be used by fraudsters in ways you can’t even imagine. One of the most common method of defrauding is pick-pocketing the wallet. With the PIN and card in hand, the money in your savings account is just a swipe away for the fraudster. He could also have tampered the ATM to jam your card in the machine. Once you leave the spot to contact the nearest branch of your bank, he can swiftly withdraw your cash.
What you should do: While using an open ATM, ensure that no one is close enough to see the PIN you are punching in. If required, be firm. Ideally, the person should be the security guard posted at the ATM. But possibilities are he is not. One way to escape the eyes of the fraudster is by using your other hand to cover the hand that punches the PIN in the machine, so that nobody will be able to see or even guess what the number is.