Gramercy Park Block Association - Neighborhood News #359

Beware of ATM Crimes!


ATM Shoulder Surfing - the act of using multiple tactics' to distract or manipulate a victim in order to obtain their ATM "PIN" number. The main goal is to obtain currency from the targeted victim without them knowing they are the victim of a crime. Often, a team of perpetrators (normally at least 3) will work together to obtain a victim's "PIN" number by...

  • Perpetrator #1 will verbally engage the victim in what appears to be a helpful conversation telling the victim the ATM they just swiped their bank card in is not working. The victim often will simply move to the next available ATM machine without closing out the current session.
  • Perpetrator #2 will walk up to the first machine and play with the key pad to keep the machine active until a pin number can be obtained from the victim.
  • Perpetrator #3 will be at the ATM machine acting as if he/she is making a transaction while really looking over the victims shoulder "surfing" in order to view the "PIN" number to the victims ATM banking account.
  • Perpetrator #3 will then relay the "PIN" number over to Perpetrator #2 in order to gain access to the victim's bank accounts to withdraw money without the victim having any idea their money is being stolen.

The Crime Prevention Section would like to share the following information to help prevent you from becoming a victim of an ATM Shoulder Surfer.


Do not give your ATM "PIN" number to anyone or allow someone to stand close enough where they might be able to see you enter your "PIN" number.

  1. When entering your ATM "PIN" number use your other hand to cover the key pad as you enter your "PIN".
  2. Always close out your session before leaving the ATM machine.
  3. Don't hold the door! Each person should use their own Bank card to gain access to the ATM vestibule.
  4. Always check your surroundings when entering the ATM vestibule area, if the area is crowded consider conducting your transaction at the teller window.
  5. Consider the time it takes you to conduct a transaction at an ATM, if someone seems to be hanging around the ATM area longer than necessary, alert the bank management.
  6. While conducting an afterhours ATM transaction take a moment to observe activity in and around the facility before you commit to using the ATM.
  7. Remember "If you see something, say something" call 911 and report suspicious activity.