General Question

amazingcookie's avatar

Is tampering with your own ATM card illegal?

Asked by amazingcookie (156points) August 30th, 2011

Is tampering an ATM card illegal? I was thinking of moving the magnetic strip into a more subtle card (hotel card, club card), because some robbers usually find ATM cards in wallets and force the owners to withdraw the maximum amount available for one day. Is this considered illegal?

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8 Answers

marinelife's avatar

It would be unwise.

missingbite's avatar

Probably. If you read the agreement that came with the card I would bet that it claims the bank is the owner of the card and must be given back if they request. The money is yours but I bet the card is theirs. I could be wrong.

Response moderated
YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, thecard belongs to the bank. Ask them for a new card, they probably have lots of different choices. I did that because I couldn’t read the numbers of the card they sent me.

Eureka's avatar

I have to ask. What in your life would put you into the position of being forced by robbers to go to an ATM and withdrawal money?

However, the other answers are correct. This would be an illegal action.

gambitking's avatar

First of all, you don’t really own the card (as Yarnlady has indicated). The bank owns it. Depending on your bank’s policies, it’s likely that such an act is against their policy, although not necessarily “illegal”.

A better question would be “What’s the best way to secure my ATM card, or prevent robbers from forcing me to withdraw cash for them”. Instead of having crafts time with your bank card, you should concern yourself with more with security. Asking yourself why you have such a fear might be a good start. And if the likelihood of being robbed in such a way is so great, you probably need to get familiar with your neighbors and neighborhood, or places where you frequent, and the law enforcement officials in the area. Taking kung fu and buying a stun gun might not be a bad idea.

Probably the best advice (or perhaps simply a comforting fact) I can give you is that there is a security measure in place at many banks that is designed to circumvent the very crime you describe: Entering your PIN backwards when in distress.

Yep, many institutions actually employ a mechanism where, if you are being forced to withdraw money, you can enter your PIN backwards, and it actually lets you withdraw the cash to fork over to the assailant, and takes a snapshot from the ATM’s camera, while summoning police immediately. It’s like your own personal silent alarm at the cash machine. Check with your bank to see if they employ this mechanism, and if not, you might want to switch to a bank that does, since it seems to be such a fear. Rest easy, friend.

amazingcookie's avatar

Eureka and gambitking :
I know someone being robbed of his wallet, and checking their ATM cards and forcing the owner to withdraw the maximum amount of money allowed in a day. It’s his route home, so there’s really no choice, and moving will be too expensive (even with what’s happening to him).

Thank you for your wonderful answers! Especially gambitking, the reversed PIN is really neat. Thanks!

crimsonangie83's avatar

Yes, don’t do it.

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