Thursday, December 06, 2007

ATM Scams Again

We were caught in an ATM scam here in San Miguel de Allende a little more than two years ago. The scammers came back to town this weekend. We have two friends that had money taken out of their bank accounts after they used their ATM cards over the weekend and we've been reading about a lot of other people that were caught in the scam too.

The last time, when it happened to us, the Fraud people at our bank told us that at that time there was a lot of ATM fraud in Mexico, England and Australia. Somehow the criminals manage to put some device on the ATM machine and read all your information including your pin number. Some of the people that were hit this time had money taken out of their accounts in other places in Mexico in a very short time. This is a well organized scam.

I'm sure that when we tell friends who visit to use Traveler's checks rather than the ATM machines that they think we are alarmist or that Mexico is full of criminal activity. Nope, no more so than England and Australia. I would imagine that the scammers hit tourist destinations in many countries. So be careful and have a plan in place to check on your bank accounts and credit cards often so you know if there is unauthorized activity.


Anonymous said...

Hola Amiga:

I wonder if the offending ATM(s?) were located in a bank or some other location? Are there details as to how this occurred?

We use only ATM machines located in a bank; and then only when the bank is open.

Also those heading down here should get their online banking skills together so they can check their account(s) often - I just did after reading your Blog. ;-)


Billie said...

Juan, the ATM's that we know were used were in banks. One was a swipe machine and the other was one where you had to insert your card. But apparently the theft of ID's happened on a Sunday when the bank wasn't open. It is a good idea to be able to check your accounts daily because most of us don't use the ATM card very often so the thieves could take out the max for several days before you would try to use it again and find out that your maximum had already been withdrawn for the day.

Jonna said...

A swipe machine? Oh sh*t! That is new. I always felt safer at swipe machines for 2 reasons, the machine couldn't eat my card and they couldn't put a sleeve in it to keep my card. Now, I'm not so confident.

If you think about it though, how could they use a swipe machine unless they were wired into the bank itself? I don't really get how that would work.

Bummer though.

Anonymous said...

The ATM "scammers" got us too on a recent visit to SMA - $1900 worth! They were very professional and waited 10 days to start withdrawing money. We only used the ATMs in the Banorte just east of the square. We'll go back to traveler's checks next time.

Bill O.

Billie said...

Bill O, I'm so sorry. Find out if you can change your PIN on-line and if you ever have to use it again, go to a computer and sign-on and change your PIN. Of course then you have to remember the new PIN.