Misdemeanour 101 – Automated Tellering Machine


I will be describing a common scenario that we witness daily within our banking halls. Mr. A is in a hurry to buy some important items that does not require a huge amount of cash. He checks his wallet and discovers that he only has N1,000 however he needs N5,000 for his purchases. So, he dashes to the nearest branch of his local bank to withdraw money from the ATM.

On getting there, he meets a seemingly short queue and decides to be patient. The customer before him goes in and spends an inordinate amount of time battling or tackling the ATM. Mr. A checks the time and observes that this particular customer has spent twenty minutes and is not in a hurry to come out of the ATM booth. So, he knocks on the door and asks what the problem is to lend a helping hand. He gets a reply from the customer who displays his ignorance on the methodology involved in withdrawing money from the ATM, so he calls the security guard to help out this customer.

The guard goes in, asks for the cards’ pin code; punches in the code and withdraws the amount needed. The customer expresses his gratitude, probably tips the guard and goes home with a smile on his face happy at being able to withdraw money from his account. Mr. A finally goes in to make his own withdrawals and departs for his destination. Happen to anyone you know or have you witnessed this several times? I know I have seen this scenario frequently.

What do you think about the above scenario? Let me tell you just in case you’re clueless – the ground has been set for a scamming opportunity. You ask by whom and I answer – of course by the guards stationed within the banking premises. If you really think about the above scenario and think of the numerous amount of individuals who do not know how to operate an ATM; imagine the number of codes each security guard has access to and the endless scam opportunities within their reach.

If you’re in the habit of stating your cards’ pin code verbatim to the guards, I’d suggest you obtain a copy of your bank statements in the past six months to check for any unauthorized withdrawals. You may also consider the possibility of changing your pin code, which I usually advice individuals to do as soon as they receive their cards. The pin code that is issued to you is not known to you alone because, the card issuer, bank officials in charge of obtaining the cards from its’ issuer, the officials involved in storing the cards before it gets to you are also responsible for typing out your code. Our banks also need to publish ATM user guides in our local languages to effectively deal with the issue of effective information dissemination.

One thought on “Misdemeanour 101 – Automated Tellering Machine

  1. Bubbles says:

    The other day I had to help out a woman with her withdrawal. I wouldn’t normally have bothered but she seemed to be taking forever on a very simple transaction and I was in a hurry. She was so overwhelmed by the fact that she was dealing with a machine not an human being. It was all new to her. I kinda felt sorry for her.

    I remember when I went to get my ATM card the guy was explaining it to me like I was a small child. I was rolling my eyes and laughing inside. It was much later I discovered that most people don’t know how to operate an ATM machine.

    Nigerians don’t know your business at the ATM is private. Nobody is supposed to see or know what you’re doing there. The way some of them queue up makes it easy to see what numbers the person is punching into the machine.

    Banks need to sensitize people to it because like you mentioned above the present situation makes fraud very easy. I’m very sure some poor souls have been swindled because they didn’t know their rights.

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