ATM Crime and How to Prevent It



ATMs have seen an increase in criminal activities such as skimming, vandalism, and physical attacks. These incidents are on the rise across the United States, posing a serious threat to both the machines themselves and the individuals who interact with them. Criminals have mastered the art of disguising their malicious intentions, making it difficult to discern their true motives. Behind their seemingly innocent transactions, they may be installing devices that steal sensitive card and pin data, putting unsuspecting users at risk. This alarming trend has seen a staggering 50% increase in attacks on ATMs and personnel over the past three years. Tragically, there have been cases where armored car drivers delivering cash have fallen victim to this violence, resulting in devastating consequences. It is crucial to take proactive measures to mitigate these threats.

It is of utmost importance to treat every attack on ATMs and personnel as a grave matter, as they present considerable dangers. Although it may not be feasible to completely avoid every incident, there are ways to address the issue and mitigate the associated risks.

Here are four actionable tips that you can immediately implement to safeguard your ATM fleet:

Avoid Routine

If your branch staff is loading your machines, vary the day of the week and time of day that branch staff load external ATMs. By avoiding a consistent routine, you reduce the likelihood of staff becoming an easy target for criminals.

Contact a Replenishment Company

If you have concerns about staff loading your external ATMs, reach out to a cash replenishment company. Inquire about pricing and documentation for ATM replenishment. Even if you don't switch immediately, having the necessary information on hand will facilitate a quicker transition when needed.

Check for Skimming Devices Twice a Day

Ensure that your branch staff checks the ATM for skimming devices at least twice a day. While not all skimming devices are detectable, many can be identified with a thorough inspection. Encourage your staff to examine the card reader and pin pad for any signs of tampering or noticeable changes. They should also try to wiggle the card reader - it should not move. Any shifting or movement could indicate the presence of a skim device. Additionally, they should be on the lookout for glue or tape around the edge of the reader, as many skim devices are easily removable.

Implement Scheduled ATM Checks

Consider scheduling ATM checks for your branch staff on their way into the office and on their way out at the end of the day. Another option is to have them visit the ATM around lunchtime. These strategic visit times will help enhance the security of your ATM, protect your staff, and safeguard your cardholders' data.


In conclusion, the rise in criminal activities targeting ATMs is a serious concern that requires immediate action. By implementing the four actionable tips mentioned above, you can take proactive measures to safeguard your ATM fleet and mitigate the associated risks. Avoiding routine, contacting a replenishment company, checking for skimming devices regularly, and implementing scheduled ATM checks are all effective strategies to enhance security and protect both your staff and cardholders' data. However, it is essential to remember that these tips are not foolproof, and it is crucial to stay updated on the latest security measures and consult with ATM security experts. By staying vigilant and proactive, we can work together to combat this alarming trend and ensure the safety of our ATM networks.


Speak With an ATM Security Expert

Learn more about how you can protect against ATM attacks.