Last week, Mental Floss writer John Hodgman tweeted this picture of a suspicious-looking ATM.
“The ATM at the Dresden is pure safecracker bait,” he said.
His gut instinct’s spot on. Who wants to deposit their hard-earned paycheck in a box any crook could crack open with pliers and a screwdriver?
We decided to tap a professional safecracker to learn more about the ATM and whether consumers should steer clear of machines like it.
“As far as I can see, this is a quality safe and ATMs usually are,” said Jeremy Reader, a certified master safecracker with The Safe House in Meridian, Idaho. “The only thing about this that differs from a typical ATM is that the safe door is not coverd by the typical key-locked plastic door. The safe door has a modern Sargent & Greenleaf dial, indicating that the lock is almost certainly a Sargent & Greenleaf R6730 or some variation. It’s an excellent, reliable mechanical combination lock, the design of which has been around for quite some time with little reason to change it.”
If that’s not reassuring enough, the ATM also has an early-warning sensor to detect movement (as with a drill).
“In my experience, an ATM’s sensors are always connected to an alarm system,” Reader said, “so there’s really no reason to believe this one’s insecure. I’d use it.”
Photo: John Hodgman