St Albans second most dangerous place to get cash from an ATM in Hertfordshire

A cash machine.

A cash machine. - Credit: Archant

St Albans is the second most dangerous place to withdraw cash from an ATM in the county.

This is according to a Freedom of Information request by MoneySuperMarket to police forces across the UK.

It showed there were 125 thefts or robberies at cashpoints in St Albans district between 2007 and 2018, 103 such instances in Stevenage in that time and 101 instances in Hemel Hempstead.

MoneySuperMarket consumer affairs expert Kevin Pratt said: “Cash is still king as far as many criminals are concerned and ATMs are their ideal hunting ground. This police data highlights the importance of being vigilant and cautious when using an ATM.

“The rise of contactless payments via credit and debit cards and electronic devices means ATM usage generally is falling. But our research suggests Brits typically make 1.5 cash payments a day each, so the crime associated with ATMs is likely to continue.

“Report a stolen credit or debit card and cancel it immediately, and keep an eye out for fraudulent transactions on your account.”

St Albans city had the most instances in the district, with 83; while Harpenden had the second most with 25 and London Colney had the third most with 13.

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The area with the most thefts or robberies at ATMs in the county was Watford, with 209.

A police spokesperson said: “While thefts and robberies at cashpoints do happen in St Albans, the vast majority of offences occur though the offender looking at the victim’s PIN number whilst paying for shopping and then taking the victim’s bank card.

“We would always urge people to remain vigilant when using pin pads or cash machines at any location. Be mindful of your surroundings and ensure no-one is stood close to you while you are making your transaction. Always be sure to cover your PIN and be wary of people who may be trying to distract you.

“Try to avoid withdrawing large sums of cash where possible and consider using an ATM situated inside a bank or shop; alternatively, get cashback from a supermarket. Put cash away quickly and securely before walking away from the machine.

“If you feel uncomfortable, seek an alternative location to withdraw money or consider paying with a card instead.”