Photo credit: (Here)
I just read this in the Arab Times (here) that ATM theft was increasing in Kuwait. There are armed gangs hanging out at banks / ATMs and waiting for their unsuspecting prey.
I used to do stupid things that I would never do in the USA. Like go to the Kuwait ATM in the middle of the night by myself when I was a contractor working on night shift. Not anymore! Now I always go to the one inside during bank hours or on the ATM's on the US Camps. I'm also vigilant when I walk back to my car and ready to use my weapon and military commando skills if needed.
Since I am looking for jobs within the Middle East and beyond I downsized all of my belongings I have with me. I gave away half of my clothes I never wear and tossed out the excess clutter in my office and residence. I overnighted all of my jewelry, watches and valuables to the most trusted person in my life (not even a family member LOL) who put them in a joint bank safety deposit box in the USA. The best place to store your valuables in the United States is inside a bank's vault. Safe's inside your home or flat can just be carried away.
Some of the valuables reminded me of my ex and since he would never take anything back I found sending them to the USA was the best solution for me. I just sent my designer bags to my sister in America since I can't take all of them with me if I move for another job by airplane. With the extreme heat, dust and my job in safety I wasn't going to be able to use them that much this summer anyway. Now I feel clutter and fancy free! I just did a little organizing everyday until the job was done and everything was mailed off or given away.
Everyone knows that America is full of crime so when you move to Kuwait you feel a wee bit safer. I sure did with the exception of some local men chasing every woman with a pulse. This includes following women to their home. The times are changing here in Kuwait (read here on local crime) and I found these tips online about ATM safety.
ATM Safety Tips
- Always pay close attention to the ATM and your surroundings. Don't select an ATM at the corner of a building -- corners create a blind spot. Use an ATM located near the center of a building. Do your automated banking in a public, well-lighted location that is free of shrubbery and decorative partitions or dividers.
- Maintain an awareness of your surroundings throughout the entire transaction. Be wary of people trying to help you with ATM transactions. Be aware of anyone sitting in a parked car nearby. When leaving an ATM make sure you are not being followed. If you are, drive immediately to a police or fire station, or to a crowded, well-lighted location or business.
- Do not use an ATM that appears unusual looking or offers options with which you are not familiar or comfortable.
- Do not allow people to look over your shoulder as you enter your PIN. Memorize your PIN; never write it on the back of your card. Do not re-enter your PIN if the ATM eats your card -- contact a bank official.
- Do not wear expensive jewelry or take other valuables to the ATM. This is an added incentive to the assailant.
- Never count cash at the machine or in public. Wait until you are in your car or another secure place.
- When using a drive-up ATM, keep your engine running, your doors locked and leave enough room to maneuver between your car and the one ahead of you in the drive-up line.
- Maintain a supply of deposit envelopes at home or in your car. Prepare all transaction paperwork prior to your arrival at the ATM. This will minimize the amount of time spent at the machine.
- Closely monitor your bank statements, as well as your balances, and immediately report any problems to your bank.
- If you are involved in a confrontation with an assailant who demands your money, COMPLY.
Source: The Electronic Funds Transfer Association, and the Los Angeles Police Department.
Article on the different types of ATM crimes (here).