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ATM Security & Fraud Protection Guide

Protect yourself and your money when using our ATMs to access everyday banking services.

ATMs are a simple, convenient tool for accessing your bank account anytime, anywhere. However, it is important to exercise proper precautions to reduce your risk of robbery or ATM fraud when you’re using one of our machines.

What is ATM Fraud?

The most common form of ATM fraud occurs when criminals fit false devices over the whole ATM fascia. You will still be able to insert your card into the ATM and complete your transaction, but the false device will record the information contained in your card’s magnetic strip. The fraudsters either watch you input your PIN or place a camera onto the ATM to obtain the PIN. They can now create a counterfeit card and withdraw money from your account

How to spot ATM fraud

There are several signs to watch out for which may indicate that an ATM has been tampered with.

  •  the green flashing light below or above the card slot may be blocked by the false device
  •  the ATM may have incorrect signage – for example you might see other banks' signage on an HSBC machine

If you see a false device or a suspicious ATM, do not use it or try to remove the device. The fraudsters may be nearby and could use violence to prevent you from removing it. Instead move to a reasonable distance from the ATM and call the Police, or contact a member of staff at your nearest HSBC branch.

What is HSBC doing to prevent this fraud?

At HSBC we have taken a number of actions to protect our customers and make our banking services more secure. These include;

Chip and PIN technology

Fraudsters can only compromise the magnetic strip on the card with these devices and not the chip. Our detection system can identify ATM activity where the magnetic strip has been used instead of the chip and decline these transactions.

Raising awareness

We run regular awareness campaigns to ensure that customers and branch staff understand the risks of ATM fraud. These campaigns include posters, ATM screen messages and communications included with your regular bank statements.

Working with local authorities

We regularly liaise with the Malta Police Force in order to promote ATM security and gain their support in arresting fraudsters.

How to protect yourself

To protect yourself from fraud and robbery while using an ATM, please exercise the following precautions

  • use your hand as a shield while entering your pin
  • be vigilant and avoid distractions
  • don’t enter your pin while somebody is watching you, and never reveal your pin to anybody else
  • ensure your contact telephone numbers are correct so that we can call you to confirm any unusual card activity

Top tips when withdrawing money from a cash machine

Choosing a cash machine

Put your personal safety first. Be aware of others around you. If someone close to the cash machine is behaving suspiciously or makes you feel uncomfortable, choose another machine. If there is anything unusual about the cash machine, or there are signs of tampering, do not use the machine and report it to the bank immediately. If you suspect that a skimming device has been attached to a cash machine, inform staff within the bank or, if this is not possible, inform the police. Put your personal safety first and do not attempt to remove it yourself.

Using a cash machine

Be aware of your surroundings. If someone is crowding or watching you, cancel the transaction and go to another machine. Do not accept help from seemingly well-meaning strangers and never allow yourself to be distracted. Stand close to the cash machine and always shield the keypad to avoid anyone seeing you enter your PIN.

Leaving a cash machine

Once you have completed a transaction, discreetly put your money and card away before leaving the cash machine. If the cash machine does not return your card, report its loss immediately to your bank.

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