Temple Terrace, Florida -- Going to an ATM is something most of us have done; maybe you never even think of the possible dangers.
That was the situation on March 28, when a woman was robbed at the Wells Fargo Bank at 9775 N. 56th Street in Temple Terrace.
"He said, 'Give me your money, give me your money,' and I started screaming," the woman told 10 News over the phone. The robbers are still on the loose and 10 News agreed not to identify the victim.
The robbery happened at the drive-up ATM about 9:15 p.m. Grainy surveillance photos show two men, one with a gun, approaching her car. The photos show what happened, but they cannot convey the victim's terror.
"I can still feel his gun at my temple sometimes," the woman said, her voice breaking with emotion. "I jump at little things."
The woman is speaking out, because she wants to help others. Like banks and law enforcement, she now urges people to be aware of their surroundings, use ATMs during daylight hours, and have someone with you.
"It could happen to anyone -- anywhere," she says. "You just need to be careful and I hope someone can learn from what happened to me."
However, the victim and her mother also question the bank's decision to locate the ATM at the rear of the building. It is out of the view of people using busy 56th Street and there are no side-street views either.
The victim's mother says, "They should be able to provide a better environment, a safe place."
A Wells Fargo spokesperson says the bank has no plans at this time to move the ATM. Wells Fargo also provided 10 News with this list of safety tips:
Using an ATM
- Be aware of your surroundings, particularly at night. If you observe or sense suspicious persons or circumstances, do not use the machine at that time.
- Have your ATM card ready and in your hand as you approach the ATM. Don't wait to get to the ATM and then take your card out of your wallet or purse.
- Visually inspect the ATM for possible skimming devices. Potential indicators can include sticky residue or evidence of an adhesive used by criminals to affix the device, scratches, damaged or crooked pieces, loose or extra attachments on the card slot, or noticeable resistance when pressing the keypad.
- Be careful that no one can see you enter your PIN at the ATM. Use your other hand or body to shield the ATM keyboard as you enter your PIN into the ATM.
- To keep your account information confidential, always take your receipts or transaction records with you.
- Do not count or visually display any money you received from the ATM. Immediately put your money into your pocket or purse and count it later.
- If you are using a drive-up ATM, be sure passenger windows are rolled up and all doors are locked. If you leave your car and walk to the ATM, lock your car.
Special Precautions for Using an ATM at Night
- Park close to the ATM in a well-lit area.
- Take another person with you, if at all possible.
- If the lights at the ATM are not working, don't use it.
- If shrubbery has overgrown or a tree blocks the view, select another ATM and notify your bank.
These tips are meant to make you aware that although rare, ATM crime can happen. Preventing such a crime must be a cooperative effort between you and your bank.
As for the victim, she's thankful she wasn't physically hurt, but the emotional trauma remains and she's trying to retain a positive outlook.
"I think life is still good and even though there are bad people in the world, it doesn't mean the world is a bad place."