Hardly a day goes by on this site that we don’t discuss safety in one form or another. Especially in the comments, a lot of people comment that they think it’s not safe here or they worry about safety when they travel here. Many of us who are living here, and those who have a lot of experience traveling here express often that we think that it’s quite safe here. However, one area where you should use caution, no matter where in the world you are is at the ATM machine. Why? Well, obviously you’re dealing with money there, you can access your bank account from there, and basically you’re a target for criminals when you’re at the ATM machine. Because of this, you need to exercise some caution. This is true whether you’re in the Philippines or any other country in the world.
Of course there are standard cautions that you should be aware of:
- Always guard your pin number, keep it secret, don’t write it down.
- Don’t stand at the ATM machine counting a lot of cash.
- When choosing an ATM machine, browse the surroundings see if anybody is standing there watching, if people are loitering there go to a different machine.
- If you use ATM machines a lot, don’t use the same one all the time, or in a predictable pattern. Change the time of day, use different machines, etc.
- Don’t hang around chatting or doing other things. Get your money and move on.
- Generally, people in the Philippines are good that if there’s more than one person at the ATM, they’ll stand back maybe around 5 feet behind you. Make sure somebody’s not right behind you watching over your shoulder.
- Make sure the area where the ATM machine is as well lit if you are there at nighttime.
While these tips are true no matter where you are in the world, even in your own neighborhood, if you are in a foreign country, it is extremely important to be careful at an ATM machine. After all, you might be in a situation where those funds in the ATM are the only funds you have available to you. Generally, you can’t just go walk into your bank when you’re in a foreign country either.
We have been living here in the Philippines for a long time, and we use the ATM pretty extensively to access our US bank account, and so far we’ve been lucky that we haven’t had any problems with that or any other thing like that. If you exercise caution, you can also maintain a good track record like this.