ATM security


There are certain ATM security threats that you should be wary of.

​Beware of skimming

Skimming is the act of capturing magnetic information from a credit card or ATM card and then using it for fraudulent purposes. Skimming can be performed either with a handheld device, or a magnetic strip reader attached to an ATM, debit or credit card portal. 

There are two types of card skimming. With the first, someone takes an extra swipe of your credit card. It could be a waiter, a store clerk, or anyone to whom you've handed your credit card for payment. Instead of just charging your card, the thief takes an extra swipe of your credit card using a small, hand-held device known as a skimmer. The skimmer extracts and stores the data from your card, giving the thief all the information he or she needs to create a counterfeit card. A skimmer can store card data from hundreds of different credit cards. Once information has been captured, it can then be downloaded into a computer and emailed anywhere in the world. 

A second form of skimming involves the collection of ATM/debit card numbers and PINs. This is accomplished either by watching members as they use ATMs (a technique known as ‘shoulder surfing’), or by installing false card readers on top of existing ATMs. These skimmers record the information from the magnetic strip on the card while a small camera is placed either in the skimmer or near the ATM to record the PIN number. With the stolen information, scammers can manufacture counterfeit ATM/debit cards that then can be used to withdraw money or make purchase from accounts. Since the ATM machines work normally, victims are unaware that they have just given scammers the ‘keys’ to their bank accounts.

Tips to protect yourself from card skimming:

  • Be wary of anything about the ATM machine that looks out of the ordinary, such as odd-looking equipment or wires attached to a device. If it doesn’t look right don’t use it. 
  • If an ATM has any unusual signs, don't use it. No bank would hang a sign that says for example, "Swipe your ATM card here before inserting it in the card reader".  
  • Be wary of a “no tampering” sign. These are often placed by crooks to thwart anyone curious about a new piece of equipment.  
  • Be wary of a jammed ATM machine that forces customers to use another ATM that has a skimmer attached.  
  • If you see anything unusual or suspicious around an ATM machine, or if you find unauthorised ATM transactions on your bank account, notify the police, as well as your financial institution and/or the establishment where the ATM is located.  
  • Check your bank accounts regularly to make sure there are no unusual or unauthorised transactions. If you find any unauthorised transactions contact Customer Care at once on 0800 500 174.  
  • Protect your PIN – do not give your number to anyone and cover the keypad while you are entering your PIN.  
  • If possible, carry out your ATM transactions during the daylight hours, as most ATM-related crimes happen after dark. 

More tips for keeping your card safe

  • Never share, write down, record on any electronic device, or disclose your PIN to anyone.  
  • Always sign your new ATM/EFTPOS card as soon as you receive it.  
  • Don't choose a PIN that is easily associated with you e.g. your birth date, phone number, or parts of your card number. 
  • Use different PIN numbers for each different card.  
  • Make sure that no one is looking over your shoulder when you enter your PIN number.  
  • Always put cash into your pocket or wallet before walking away from the ATM machine.  
  • Always remember to retrieve your ATM/EFTPOS card after using it.  
  • Do not use any ATM or EFTPOS terminal that looks like it has been tampered with (e.g. had components added) as it may have been altered for the purpose of skimming your card details.  
  • Be wary of anyone offering assistance, especially if the ATM has just retained your card, as they may be attempting to obtain your card or card details. 
  • When using an ATM be wary of anyone attempting to observe you entering your PIN and do not allow yourself to be distracted by anyone talking to you.  
  • If your card is retained by an ATM, go immediately to the nearest bank branch or call Sovereign on 0800 500 174, 8am - 5:30pm, Mon to Fri.  
  • If you lose your Go ATM/EFTPOS card, please contact Sovereign immediately.  
  • Always keep your ATM/EFTPOS card in a safe place.  
  • Carefully dispose of receipts from EFTPOS and ATM transactions once you have checked these against your statement. This will help prevent others acquiring information about you and your cards. 
Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is of a general nature and is intended as a guide only, outlining some of the features and benefits provided by Sovereign's Go Home Loans. All home loans are subject to our home loan lending criteria. Early repayment adjustments may apply.  For loans with less than 20% equity a Low Equity Margin may apply. The lender is ASB Bank Limited via its nominee Mortgage Holding Trust Company Limited. The transactional account for Sovereign’s Go Home Loans is provided by ASB Bank Limited.

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The information contained on this website is general in nature and is not intended as advice. It may not be relevant to individual circumstances and before making any investment, insurance or financial planning decision; you should consult a professional adviser. Copies of our disclosure statements are available on request, free of charge.​