ATM limits higher than most think

ATM's seem so simple:  Swipe your ATM or debit card, take out a hundred bucks, and you're good to go.

But there are some things about ATM's many of us don't know that could cost you serious money.

Scammer Drains Account

Roseann Herman recently stopped at an ATM to get some cash, with no idea what was about to happen.

"I went to get money out and it turns out that three hours later someone else got money out," she said.

Herman suspects a scammer may have installed a credit card skimmer on the machine to read her card numbers.  She filed a police report, but the local police told her they found have no evidence of a skimmer.

All she knows is that when she looked at her balance, it was down substantially, from ATM and debit card transactions she didn't make.

"I checked my bank account a couple of days later and was overdrawn, which hasn't happened in 30 years," she said.

"The bank said someone had been using my debit card and they apparently had my PIN," she said. "They got almost $3,000."

Overdraft Protection Worked Against Her

It turns out the overdraft protection she signed up for worked against her, allowing the thieves to use her debit card number over and over again.

"I thought I had a $500 limit on my ATM," Herman said.  "When I went there I took out $200, but three hours later they took out $500. Then they started doing point of sale transactions, draining it more.  Every time they overdrew my account, my savings account would replenish that."
While the bank would not discuss her case with us, Herman filed a fraud claim and finally got most of the money back.

But she wants to warn others about one downside of overdraft protection.

While it protects you from bouncing your checking account, it can also protect a thief who has your card number, enabling to take out more money than from an account with no overdraft protection (where the sale would be denied due to lack of funds).

Herman said "I had no idea the overdraft protection would work that way."

She says she is setting her daily ATM limit back at $500, period.

My advice:  Check with your bank to see what your ATM limits one ATM, and during an entire day. If you're not comfortable with that, ask if they can change it.

As always, don't waste your money.


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