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Most Recent ATM Fraud

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Costa Mesa...
posts: 23
reviews: 1
Most Recent ATM Fraud

I just found a fraudulent ATM withdrawal on my bank statement this morning, After working out the details with Wells Fargo, I feverishly logged onto the forum, only to find gailshoults' post about a similar thing. Here are the details:

1. It was our second time in Los Cabos (first time was back in 2005). Our recent vacation was from Feb 16 to 23.

2. I did not plan on using my debit card at all, due to all the advice from the forum, and because Wells Fargo charges $5 per ATM transaction on top of local fees. We brought cash and exchanged some of it on our first day at our hotel (Sheraton Hacienda del Mar).

3. On Feb 19, we were getting afternoon massages at Lolos Massage, and ran out of cash (both dollars and pesos). We also parked at the paid parking lot in front of Wyndham (we found most convenient to park there for our EcoCat whale watching trip earlier that day), so we really needed cash.

4. We knew that if we were to use an ATM, that it was safer to use the ATM's affiliated with a bank. I remember seeing a "bank" (in hindsight, maybe it was a cambio or a bank) at the northeastern corner of the Wyndham building, closest to the exit/payment gate of the parking lot (at the Vicente Guerrero and Paseo de la Marina intersection). Can't recall the name, but this "bank" had a green sign posted on the building frontage, and there was a line of people formed outside the doors. I saw a sign that said passports were needed to get money. I asked the security guard at the door where the bank's ATM was. He directed me to the side of the building (along the breezeway/under the archway between the two buildings, which for reference, is the extension of Vicente Guerrero leading to the marina). I proceeded to use that ATM, thinking that it was affiliated with the bank. I canceled the transaction as soon as I started doubting whether it was really a reputable bank ATM.

5. I then walked further up Paseo de la Marina, where I found another security guard who directed me to the Santander bank ATM in Aramburo plaza. They have this little covered kiosk with two ATMs, just outside of the bank's front doors. I went ahead and got money there.

6. Once we got back home, I checked our bank account and credit card account for any fraud, and was happy that everything was fine.

7. This Monday morning, there was an ATM withdrawal for almost $400 from Bogota reported as a "pending transaction" on our bank account. Wells Fargo indicated that after that first attempt (where the $400 was successfully withdrawn), more withdrawals were attempted ALL DAY last Saturday. It was at this time that Wells Fargo closed the debit card.

In summary, I would caution Cabo visitors about using an ATM card at all (literally, "inserting" a debit card at ANY machine). Just remember to bring enough cash on day and evening outings. Also worth noting that we did not have any problems using our credit card at the restaurants we went to (Deckman's, El Farallon, Meson del Angel, Maro's Shrimp House, La Fonda, Sunset da Mona Lisa, Hacienda Cocina y Cantina). We paid cash at Las Guacamayas and El Toro Guero, parking, Lolos, and small shops. We used our credit card for all hotel/food/spa/kids club charges, and at Walmart and La Europea.

46 replies to this topic
Saint James, New...
Destination Expert
for Cabo San Lucas
posts: 8,147
reviews: 69
1. Re: Most Recent ATM Fraud

Thank you for letting us know what happened to you. I hope your experience saves some one else.

Alberta
posts: 339
reviews: 16
2. Re: Most Recent ATM Fraud

Exact same thing happened to us with our credit card. We were there Feb 9-16 and my husband wanted to go on a last minute fishing trip, so he tried taking funds out using our mastercard. I'm not sure exactly which bank he went to, but I know he was by the Wyndham. He couldn't get any money out, so just gave up and didn't go fishing.

We were notified on the weekend by Mastercard that someone has been using his number, and has charged $1,000 on it already. Thankfully Mastercard was on it quick and all the charges have been taken off our card and it cancelled.

Olympia, WA
Destination Expert
for Cabo San Lucas
posts: 7,854
reviews: 9
3. Re: Most Recent ATM Fraud

So it sounds like someone has placed a skimming device on a machine near the Wyndham. This is one of the reasons that we maintain a separate travel account that is not tied to any of our other bank accounts. Although we keep enough money in it for a trip and would hate to lose that, anybody skimming the card only has access to a limited amount.

Edited: 3:58 pm, March 04, 2013
Chicago, Illinois
posts: 562
reviews: 25
4. Re: Most Recent ATM Fraud

Thank you for the detailed actions taken, this will should help others to understand 1) you were being diligent in trying to keep your account safe, and not careless. And 2) lets us know that skimming devices are making their way (as they have on US Bank ATM) onto a Banks ATM.

Scary but true, crime is every where. Sorry it had to hit you when your trying to enjoy your hard earned money.

I don't even have a debit card, but like you I do use my CC (because the protection it provides) all the time, but while traveling I try to only use it at major vendors, and without it leaving my sight. But I may consider changing this strategy and just bringing cash - but hey then I could just have something taken from my safe, purse, pocket, etc. So we are never really safe.

Graham, Washington
Destination Expert
for Cabo San Lucas
posts: 7,687
reviews: 6
5. Re: Most Recent ATM Fraud

If I am reading this correctly it was not a bank atm that was the one with the skimmer but one near the Wyndam, correct?

McArthur, California
posts: 203
reviews: 15
6. Re: Most Recent ATM Fraud

Our adult son traveled with us to Cabo during New Year’s Season this year but never once used his debit card but had it on him in his wallet. He never even got it out but on one occasion he didn’t lock it in the safe in our room. He said it was “hidden” but I am not sure how well. Upon returning from our trip his bank fraud department called and said two transactions at a McDonald’s in Mexico City had been noted and suspected to be fraud. Thank goodness the transactions were under $30 each but I am sure someone was just testing the waters. I felt bad at first for whoever needed a McDonald’s meal so desperately but now I am really wondering how it happened. I don’t want to believe it was our maid or anyone at our hotel but rather someone with that new scanning ability which I have heard even works through wallets. Am I just being naïve?

Colorado Springs...
posts: 689
reviews: 9
7. Re: Most Recent ATM Fraud

So a few years ago we found that someone had charged some items at a Wal-mart in Texas, it was just after we returned from Cabo, so we thought maybe someone had gotten our account information from an ATM down there. After speaking with our bank we found out that it's becomming more common for people to get an account # and make up several fake credit cards using a series of #s, without ever seeing the actual credit or debit cards. Then they just try them all until they find one that works.

In our particular situation, we contacted the Wal-mart where the card was used and the clerk actually remembered the guy that came in, said he tried four credit cards before one worked, the one with our number on it of course. We're like...you didn't think anything was off that this person was trying to use all these credit cards...oh and he had come in earlier, bought a tv with our #, then later came back and tried to return it for cash....which Wal-mart refunded to them...nice. So I don't think it's always the case that they actually have your number, occassionally they just guess right. Don't think you can protect yourself other than having a good relationship with your bank to watch all purchases. We used to contact our bank prior to a trip and let them know we'd be on vacation, but to check with us for any "odd" transactions in a different location.

Oh, we later found out that a server the credit card informatoin was stored on was hacked and everyone who had an account on that particular server had issues.

Edited: 5:33 pm, March 04, 2013
Seattle
posts: 27,996
reviews: 12
8. Re: Most Recent ATM Fraud

<caution Cabo visitors about using an ATM card at all>

But you said it was OK when you went to a real bank ATM (the Santanders) right?

Your caution is about non-bank ATMs which you managed to use in the Marina if I am reading the story correctly. No need to caution people that they can't use an ATM card at a *bank* just my opinion. suze

Colorado Springs...
posts: 689
reviews: 9
9. Re: Most Recent ATM Fraud

There is a bank ATM by Plaza Nautica (across from Dairy Queen) that we've been using for years and have never had any issues. We try to limit how often we go, and always keep our receipts if it gives one.

Olympia, WA
Destination Expert
for Cabo San Lucas
posts: 7,854
reviews: 9
10. Re: Most Recent ATM Fraud

Illyj, regarding people simply making up a false account number. Since this was a debit card, they not only have to make up the account number but also must accidently hit the password that you use. I'm still guessing that the information from the account, including the password, was skimmed.

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