Skimming, vandalism and physical attacks on ATMs, armored car and cash-in-transit (CIT) personnel, ATM technicians and other ATM crimes are all on the rise throughout the U.S.

For a criminal, the ATM has always presented an open environment with multiple potential escape routes. Criminals can be very adept at approaching the ATM and making it appear that they are conducting typical business. But in reality, they can be placing devices on the ATM to capture card and pin data.

The exact numbers are hard to come by, but some reports indicate these attacks on ATM and personnel have increased by 50% over the past three years. In one high profile case, an armored car driver was killed during a September, 2023 delivery by two attackers, both of whom have been arrested and charged.

All attacks on ATMs and personnel are serous threats, and while no one can prevent every incident, there are things institutions can do to help reduce the threat.

Here are for tips you can put into action immediately for your own ATM fleet:

  1. If you have branch staff loading external ATMs (or ATMs that are not loaded from inside the branch), vary the day of the week and time of day that they travel to the ATM. Being too consistent and routine in your replenish cycle makes staff an easy target. Consider reaching out to local law enforcement for assistance. Many local law enforcement will provide an escort for a small fee.
  2. If you are concerned with having staff loading your external ATMs, contact the armored car or CIT company currently providing your branch cash and ask for pricing and the documents for ATM replenishment. Even if you don’t make the change immediately, having the necessary costs and paperwork can enable a faster transition when needed.
  3. Have your branch staff check the ATM a minimum of twice a day for skimming devices. Not all skim devices are detectable, but many of them are. Your staff should inspect the card reader and pin pad for tampering or any noticeable changes. Be sure they grab the card reader and wiggle it. It should not move. If it does shift or move, it could indicate that a skim device has been placed on top of the original reader. Also inspect for glue or tape around the edge of the reader. Many skim devices are put on in such a way that they can be removed very quickly after a period of time. So, they are not going to be bolted or adhered tightly to the ATM fascia.
  4. For the ATM checks, consider having your branch staff plan visits to the ATM on the way into the office and the way out at the end of the day. You can also have them visit around lunchtime.

These steps can help protect the ATM, your staff and your cardholders’ data. You can also consult with your ATM management company for additional security advice.