Beware of the Growing Threat of Jugging

March 29, 2024

Jugging, or bank jugging, is a crime of opportunity that is on the rise across the country. It occurs when a criminal waits for unsuspecting individuals to leave a financial institution, ATM, or drive-thru with money. The criminals often look for those walking out with cash in hand, bank envelopes, or cash bags.

Several reports suggest that the criminals will sit at a distance from the financial institution and use binoculars to watch for people leaving with large envelopes or bank bags. The criminals will then follow the unsuspecting person and wait for them to make their next stop (e.g., another business, home). When the person gets out of their car, the criminals break in and steal the money or attack the victim. In some cases, the robbery occurs on location at the financial institution—in the parking lot or nearby.

Generally, these crime trends take advantage of the behavior patterns of the potential victims—typically credit union or bank members or visitors. However, employees that transport cash to other branch locations, to and from ATMs, or to other businesses can also be at risk.

Here’s how to protect yourself:

  • Stay alert when entering or exiting your vehicle and any financial institution. If you notice suspicious individuals or vehicles behaving oddly or observing you closely, trust your instincts and take necessary precautions.
  • Whenever possible, avoid making large cash withdrawals. If you must, try to conceal the cash by using a discreet wallet or envelope.
  • Vary your routine and patterns, such as the time of day or location of your financial transactions, making it difficult for criminals to target you.
  • Groups of people that appear attentive and aware of surroundings are less likely to be targeted.
  • Keep your cash, wallets, purses, and other valuables out of sight. Store them securely in your vehicle’s trunk or other concealed compartments before arriving at your destination.
  • Use the drive-thru or drive-thru ATM, that limit exposure to potential criminals. Consider using mobile banking apps or online transfers instead of carrying large sums of cash.
  • If anything seems suspicious at the ATM, cancel the transaction and leave immediately. Do not accept assistance from strangers.
  • Do not count or visually display cash at the ATM; instead, pocket it immediately when you complete the transaction, and take your card and receipt. Verify the cash when safe.
  • If anyone follows you after making a transaction, go immediately to a crowded, well-lit area and call the police.