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How Merchants Can Protect their ATM from Criminal Attacks

February 17, 2020

Chicago, St. Louis, Modesto, San Antonio, Orlando… these are just a few of the U.S. cities recently making headlines in the news as crim


inals increase attacks aimed at ATMs. Many ATM owners think, “that couldn’t happen here” or “that would never happen to me.” Unfortunately, any business that deals with cash or merchandise can become the target of a criminal enterprise.


Although most attacks happen at financial institution ATMs, which hold more cash than off-premise units, retail locations that are not open 24/7 are susceptible to criminals looking for a quick payday from the ATM.


However, there are some steps merchants can take to fend off criminals and reduce the chance of theft, tampering, and physical damage to your ATM and location.


  1. ATM Location – Is the machine near a window or could it easily be pulled out of the store by a truck or heavy machinery? Placement is key for any ATM. It should be convenient for consumers and foot traffic, but putting it against a window might not be the best idea. If there’s an easy way to get the ATM out, move it to a more secure area.

  2. Video Surveillance – Something as simple as having video and a sign or decal on the ATM that says, “monitored by video,” can often prevent someone from trying to break into the ATM. Since savvy thieves will anticipate a camera and often spray paint them during the attack, a secondary and less obvious video monitoring system may be a consideration.

  3. Bolt ATM to the Ground/Floor – Best practices suggest ATMs should be bolted to the ground at the bare minimum.

  4. Staff Training – To prevent thieves from tampering with the ATM, adding skimming devices or testing it to see if it’s bolted to the ground, it’s imperative to train staff to inspect the ATM on a regular basis for signs of tampering or movement.

  5. Physical Security – If your business is in an area that has a high crime rate, an extra layer of security such as bollards or cabinet reinforcement may be a wise investment. Bollards are an inexpensive extra layer of protection that discourages would be criminals from trying to pull the ATM out of a store. Cabinet reinforcement will make the ATM heavier and harder for thieves to get to the cash.

Unfortunately, would be thieves are always looking for a quick, easy payday and cash is an attractive target. It “can” happen to you and your location. Follow these five steps to ensure you have peace of mind.


If you aren’t sure if your ATM is secure, reach out to BFC Enterprises for a consultation. We may even be able to provide you with a better deal than your current ATM provider!

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