ATM Security: Some Helpful Dos and Don’ts

Atm fraud prevention scam card skimmer

Simple actions help ensure ATMs are both convenient and safe.

Both average citizens and criminal minds adore the convenience of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). With the growing ubiquity of ATMs around the world, the emergence of cunning card scams that defraud ATM users are becoming all too familiar. Meanwhile, at the ATM most citizens remain unaware of the risks of tossing their card statements in the garbage on the street corner and appear aloof when entering their PIN number in full view of strangers passing by.

Though ATMs have been around for a while now, we all can benefit from a friendly reminder of the Dos and Don’ts when using ATMs and how best to keep our ATM cards safe.

Security guidelines for your ATM card

Dos:

  • Sign your name on the strip on the back of your card as soon as you receive it.
  • First use of the card must be at an ATM, otherwise it will not work at Point of Sale (POS) at a store.
  • Memorize your personal identification number (PIN) and never share it with anyone.
  • Store your card in a secure place where you will know immediately if it goes missing.
  • Beware of “shoulder surfing”: shield your PIN from onlookers by using your body and hands. Once you complete your transaction, be sure that you have your card and your receipt, then leave immediately.
  • Make a new PIN as soon as you receive your card. Change your PIN every three months.
  • Store your bank card with care so that you do not damage the magnetic stripe.
  • Check your ATM machine for signs of any external fittings or loose wiring; these may indicate you are using a scam ATM machine. Report suspicious ATM machines to the bank and use another ATM.
  • Check your monthly bank statement for unusual or unauthorized transactions. Report any suspicious or unfamiliar transactions to your bank immediately.
  • Ensure your card is swiped in your presence at a POS.
  • Immediately inform your financial institution if your card is lost or stolen.
payza scam prevention fraud atm cards

Three simple rules that help prevent ATM card scams.

Don’ts:

  • Never lend your card to anyone.
  • Do not write your PIN number on your card.
  • When disposing of old receipts and statements, don’t use public waste receptacles and be sure to destroy the statements so they are useless to identity thieves.
  • Never share your PIN with anyone, including a family member or bank personnel, or in response to online or email requests.
  • Never carry a copy of your PIN in your wallet or purse.
  • Never let anyone see you input your PIN.
  • Never use a PIN that could be guessed easily, such as your birthday or telephone number.
  • Never leave your card unattended; for example, in your car, hotel room or on your desk at work.
Payza scam atm security

These are definite ATM-card follies best to avoid.

More Resources

A victim of an ATM scam in India recounts her story (Basunivesh.com).

This article has more tips on how to protect yourself at the ATM (Krebs on Security).

Stay Secure and Use a Password for Your Payza Account that is Different From All Other Accounts

We want your account to remain safe.

Using the same, or similar, passwords online puts your account at risk—a risk that is easy to avoid.  

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password blog--email same as payzaPreventing security breaches is a top priority at Payza and we need your help to ensure your account remains safe from hackers. Your first line of defense is to use a strong and distinct password for your Payza account.

By distinct, we mean that your password to log in to Payza is different from your passwords for your email, social media, and other online accounts.

A common mistake is to reuse passwords because a security breach at one website can result in many online accounts being accessed by a cybercriminal.

If you reuse a password for your Payza account, please go change it now.

Changing your password is simple; here is how:

  1. Log in to your account.
  2. Click on your name next to your avatar in the top left corner.
  3. Select ‘Password’ and make necessary changes.

email password payza password distinct

Here we provide you with a guide on how to pick a great password and show how you can avoid common security risks by understanding how they occur in the first place. You will find at the end of this post additional resources about online security, scams and fraud.

password blog--no password remember formulaMemorizing complex passwords for all your online accounts is difficult and often frustrating. You can avoid this frustration and make strong passwords that are memorable if you use a strategy or “password formula”.

Consider this formula as an example: take the name of a website and replace letters in the name with a memorable word, and then add a sequence of numbers after a fixed set of letters.

So, “Payza” has two vowel “a”s; we can replace these vowels with a favorite color, say red, which makes the word “Predyzred”; then we can insert numbers after three letters, counting up from a favorite number, say 5. This results in a strong, distinct password generated by an easy to remember formula:

Payza password formula

By remembering the formula, you can figure out your password for any account (e.g., the same formula applied to a Twitter account would produce the password “Twr5edt6tre7dr”).

An added plus is that you can make a simple change to the formula, making it easy to change your passwords on a regular basis–e.g., count up from 6 instead of 5.

Indeed, you should change your passwords about once a month. So for this example, next month’s password for this Payza account will be:

password formula 2

Here are more excellent strategies and simple formulas for choosing strong and memorable passwords:

Invent your own password formula today; it’s fun.

 

Common ways hackers steal passwords and how you can protect yourself

Cybercriminals are very clever at finding ways to breach even the most complex online security systems. Even prominent government offices and corporations with extensive security systems, such as LinkedIn and Target, were recently embroiled in highly publicized security hacks.

At first it may appear that we have little control over these unfortunate security breaches; in fact, we all can take simple precautions to minimize the theft of our private information. Once again, changing your password on a regular basis is a great strategy to stop third parties from accessing your online accounts, especially since you may be unaware that a hacker acquired your user names, email addresses and associated passwords. Know that many hackers collect user names and passwords in order to sell them to other cybercriminals over the course of weeks, months, sometimes years; by changing your password frequently, you can render this hacked information useless before it is sold.  

 The second most important strategy is to remain vigilant when any online entity requests your password, especially when a site offers a reward or incentive.

 

password blog--free likes scamsA quick search on the internet will uncover countless sites that claim to have found “magical computer tricks” that enable anyone to acquire followers on social media or supercharge the search ranking of blog posts and online content–all for free.

Tempted by these rewards, unsuspecting internet users are directed to what looks like an official social media or website login page, where they are required to log in and then receive their reward. These login pages are in fact clone sites that record your user name and password.

 

Online payment platforms, including Payza, have identified similar scams that claim to offer simple computer tricks to instantly add free money to your account. Known as “money adders”, “hacks”, and “loot downloads”, we are certain that all of these sites are scams that never provide anyone with any benefit, especially not free money in their accounts. The take home message here is that you should only provide your Payza account information at our login page located at this web address:

log in address

If an unfamiliar avatar greets you, you know you are at the wrong site.

 

Stay vigilant and tell us about suspicious activity online

If you notice suspicious activity online or suspect an unwanted person has accessed your account, please report the problem to us so we can investigate immediately.

Our Fraud Prevention and Security Departments work hard to protect your account and personal information from cybercriminals. We appreciate your help in using great passwords and doing your part to ensure Payza’s payment gateway remains secure.

 

Additional resources

Want to know if unwanted people have access to your emails? Check if it is just you reading them!

See what popular online scams are circulating on the internet. How many do you recognize?

Read detailed descriptions of how hackers steal passwords and how you can prevent this from happening to you, here and here.

Check out these practical tips for online security written by our peers.

Here are previous posts on our blog and help desk about passwords.

Beware Payza Money Adder Hacks: This Is A Scam

Payza money adder scam

Has any Payza member ever received free money from a hack money adder?

No, definitely not.

Conduct an internet search with terms “payza hack” or “payza money adder” and you will find a plethora of listings; we are not alone: similar “hacks” exist for all major online money transfer businesses. All these sites advertise ways to get free money in your Payza account. It almost seems too good to be true.

Well, it is. Let us explain.

What is a “Money Adder” and “Payza Hack”

They go by a few names, mostly along the lines of Payza Money Adder, or Payza Money Generator, or simply, Payza hack.

Some look primitive in terms of design and promotion; others are very sophisticated with stylish design and branding. Some purported money adders are available as a mobile app, some only work on desktop. Many are associated with promotional videos on Youtube and social media, providing slick demonstrations on how simple and effective this hack is.

Has a Payza hack ever provided money to an account? No, never

Despite these differences, all money adders have one thing in common: they do not actually give you free money.

These money adders share another common trait: They are designed to trick you into providing your Payza Account details so that a fraudster can compromise your account.

We can say with absolute certainty that no one has ever received money in their account from a money adder or similarly purported hack. Our fraud prevention and customer support departments, however, are familiar with the need to freeze accounts that have been accessed by unwanted third parties. Our investigations indicate that third parties gained access to an account after the owner provided their login information to one of these money adder sites.

“FrEE INSTaNT MONEY! SIMPLY GIvE US YOuR PERSoNAL InFO! >:-)”

Embrace the advice from this popular expression: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

We recently discussed Payza Money Adders and Payza Hacks on Quora. For a more detailed explanation of how this scam works, read our answer below.

Please stay vigilant so that, together, we can minimize the risks of online fraud.

Read Payza (official Company Account)'s answer to What is a Payza hack and money adder? Is it safe or a scam? on Quora