Sunday, April 24, 2005

ATM Scam

We've been scammed....but so have lots of other people here in San Miguel de Allende. From what we have read on the local email group, the scamming operation was well organized and widespread in Mexico.

Last Monday morning Ned went to get cash from the ATM. It wouldn't let him have any and told him that we had insufficient funds. Shock! Then you think, it is just another hiccup of the ATM's in Mexico. He called me from the centro and I went on line and looked at the USA bank account. Yes, there was plenty of money BUT there were two withdrawals totalling almost $825 on that Monday, April 18. Whoa! What is going on?

I immediately called our bank and after punching thru 1 and 2's I finally was able to speak to a person. Yes, they could see the withdrawals but they did not have any information at that minute as to whether they were from point-of-sale or ATM transactions. It would be 24 hours before they had additional information on the transactions. They kept asking me if we had the debit card, if we had the PIN number written on it, if my husband had a card, if we gave out our PIN number to anyone, if, if, if ???? I guess I finally convinced them that we had one card and it was in our possession. They cancelled the current card and would send another one. And they gave me a case number and the fraud telephone number.

When we talked to Fraud, we again went thru the litinany of questions but they seemed to be very knowledgeable about something going on with ATM's in Mexico although they would not give us specific information. As the week as gone on we have talked to several other people who had the same thing happen to them. It has to be an inside job for the thieves to be able to get card numbers and PIN numbers and it has to be well organized to duplicate cards and hit so many ATM's so quickly starting on a weekend.

We have been checking all our bank accounts and credit cards balances everyother day or so because of identity theft and scams. Now I guess we will be doing it everyday. And we will be cashing checks at Intercam instead of using the ATM....until someone figures out a way to crack them too. What is this world coming to?


Nell said...

Oh no. Did you digit your PIN on the ATM? We must be very wary of weird things on Mexico's ATMs, I had never heard of a similar scam. Weird.

It's weird that they withdrew more than $800. Most debit cards won't allow you to withdraw more than $3 000 (pesos) per day in ATMs. I don't know if that limit is only for cards issued in Mexico.

By the way, I'm Nell M from Flickr :)

BillieS said...

Nell, We keep talking to people who had this same thing happen to them over the weekend. Apparently the first withdrawal was on Sunday and the next early Monday morning. A lot of USA bank cards have larger limits on them than $300. This was a very well organized crime.

Nell said...

That sucks! Hope they catch the criminals.