You’re on the way out for the evening, speaking to your friend as you drive: “I’ll just pop by the ATM and grab some cash.” You pull up to your bank and park in front, jump out of the car and leave the motor running. “Should I pull out $200 or $300?” you ask your friend. You’re in a hurry so you grab the cash and leave the receipt sticking out of the machine, dashing back to the car.
Several mistakes were made in this scenario, mistakes that may have opened the door to a serious crime. Every day there are stories like this in the news:
Bonita Springs – Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers is trying to identify the suspect who robbed a woman after she withdrew cash from a Bonita Springs ATM.
According to detectives, the victim withdrew $200 at the Suncoast School Credit Union ATM on Chamber of Commerce Drive shortly after 2:30 p.m. on January 10th.
As the victim walked back to her car, an unknown man grabbed the money from her hands and ran to a gray Toyota or Honda waiting nearby. A witness to the crime chased after the suspect, but eventually lost him after he sped off behind the shopping center.
People assume that because ATMs have security cameras and there are guards inside the bank, they are safe. This is not necessarily so.
Florida Law (Chapter 768) covers security negligence and is used by the courts to determine what are adequate and inadequate security measures when someone is the victim of a crime or negligence due to inadequate precautions.
The owner of a business is responsible for the safety and security of customers. This includes proper lighting, security personnel, cameras, and other reasonable measures to prevent crime.
Some common areas where improper security can lead to injury or damage are:
Poor Surveillance or Security In Parking Lots And Garages Negligent ATM Security Negligent College Campus and Dorm Room Security Negligent Hospital Security Negligent Security In Nursing Homes And Assisted Living Residences Negligent Shopping Center And Mall Security Negligent Stadium Security
Incidents like the one described above in Bonita Springs occur every day in Florida, and a reasonable amount of time spent learning proper precautions may prevent them from ever happening to you. Here are some tips concerning ATMs:
1. Treat your ATM card as if it were cash. If you lose your ATM card, report it right away.
2. Practice PIN safety. Never tell anyone your PIN, and don’t write it down.
3. Be efficient so you minimize your time at the machine.
4. Never leave your receipt behind. Even if account numbers aren’t printed on your receipt,
information on them could be used by someone building up information for identity theft.
5. Take a good enough look at your ATM to know if something looks “off.”
6. At night, only use ATMs that have sufficient lighting and that are clearly visible from the street.
7. Don’t let down your guard just because you have your cash in hand. If you leave and believe you are being followed, drive to the nearest police station, fire station, or well-trafficked, well-lit business and call the police.
8. If there’s a line to use the ATM, use your body or your hand as a shield to make it difficult for someone to see your PIN as you type it in.
9. If you’re using a drive-up ATM, make sure your car doors are locked, and that all windows except the one you’re using are rolled up.
10. If you notice suspicious activity after you’ve begun your ATM transaction, cancel it, recover your card, and leave.
Today’s banks risk more theft from transfer fraud and embezzlement than from ATMs, but ATMs do involve a certain level of risk.
Security negligence is a specialized are of law that can be very difficult to understand. The Law firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been representing victims of crimes that involved poor security measures for many years and they have obtained proper and reasonable compensation for their clients.
If you or someone you know has been involved in an incident involving poor security, please call Gary or Arleen Lazarus at 954-356-0006. They will be happy to listen to your experiences and recommend the right course of action.