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ATMs in Rio: warning

Rio de Janeiro, RJ
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ATMs in Rio: warning

Dear travelers,

There have been several reports on this forum of scams in ATMs in Rio, especially the ones located at the International Airport.

In view of the above:

1) Avoid using ATMs located at the airport, subway stations and other public areas;

2) When arriving at the airport, exchange only the necessary at an exchange booth, so that you can get your reais and pay for your ground transportation. Exchange booths at the airport usually have worse rates, so the suggestion we've givien is: get the necessary and withdrawl money from ATM machines as per the instructions on item #3;

3) Use ATMs located inside bank agencies around the city, especially Banco do Brasil, which apparently has shown to be more compatible with foreign cards (look for the ATM machines which have stickers of card flags – Visa, MasterCard, etc – attached to them). Citibank, HSBC and other international banks may also have compatible machines.

4) If you've been a victim of any kind of fraud, contact your bank. They usually reimburse you within some hours or days, as in most jurisdictions – including under Brazilian Law – they have to do it so, as it is their duty to keep their costumers free of frauds.

Further information:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g303506-i1199-k464…

Moreover, it's also important to know that ATMs won't allow you withdrawl more than R$ 1,000 per day. In some banks, the limit may be as low as R$ 300. Also avoid withdrawing money in the evening, as some banks won't let you do it when it's late. Further information:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g303506-i1199-k620…

Remember that credit cards are widely accepted in restaurants, bars, clubs, supermarkets, etc, so you won't need to withdrawl money from ATM machines all the time.

All the best,

Jgsodre

135 replies to this topic
new jersey
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1. Re: ATMs in Rio: warning

There are many ways that people use to steal your money or your info via an ATM machine. Either skimming, cloning, pin stealing, jamming, or grab and go. All need to be taken into consideration.

--Best defense is to use only ATM located in bank lobbies.

-Another way to protect yourself is to talk with your bank before going on your trip. Set up a seperate savings account with its own ATM card--one that will not allow access to your main accounts. The banks can set their own limits (per your request) on this account to amount of money taken and amount of withdraws in a 24 hour period. They can also set up automatic deposits daily--deposited usually 0900 my home time. So I start with $1000 USD in account. I have the bank deposit $250 USD a day--from my main account. I make one withdraw a day. This minimizes the amount you could lose. Also, say if i go to make that day's withdraw and it denies me, this tells me someone compromised this account and I need to take action. This protects your main bank assests (for instance with my home ATM card I can access my checking, savings, credit cards, and money market account. I'd be foolish to use that card overseas. I do travel with a second atm from a second bank incase there are issues with your first account. Then a credit card as an emergency back up.

new jersey
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2. Re: ATMs in Rio: warning

Forgive me if I'm rambling too much, but I'd thought I'd add a few bits of advice I've learned over the years of traveling:

-I usually try to obtain some local currency even before my departure, around $200. I know the exchange rate may not be the best, but it allows you to avoid airport ATMS and exchange brokers (which can be the biggest ripoffs with high exchange rates).

-A few ways to combat jamming technique is to insert your card, DO NOT enter pin, then immediatly hit the cancel button. If the machine is jammed and your card is stuck, at least your account wasn't opened yet. It should feel very smooth to enter and withdraw a card. If you feel resistence or if its hard to do so--then use another machine.

Another suggestion is to enter the wrong PIN on your initial attempt, this may trip up someone who is looking to steal your PIN #. Also scout out the machine first, watch if there are any lurkers. Also wait until someone else uses the ATM, if they are successful in removing money, then the machine is probably not jammed..

-For skimmers-some thieves place a contraption right on the ATM--usually on the part where you run your card through. Before inserting card, grab, twist, and pull that part of the ATM, skimmers will come off or feel loose. Also look at the machine itself, if the colors of the parts of the ATM do not match, chances are they may have been tampered with. Lastly, look around the machine, there should only be a single camera lens on the machine. If you see a second camera, walk away.

-If possible, take a travel partner with you. Have them stand next to you but facing the other way watching anyone. This may help deter someone looking to sneak up and grab your money or belongings. They can chase off any kids--who are often used as a distraction for the person looking to snatch your belongings/money ONLY ONE person make a withdraw as if both of you take money out, you've double targeted yourself for someone to rob you away from the ATM. Keep vigilant even after making a withdraw--folks let their gurad down after getting their money.

-For men who like to carry a wallet in their back pockets (espeically with money in it which is the biggest mistake as you lose all your ID AND money if you are robbed)-- place the wallet with the mouth (opening) facing up--also place a small comb in the fold of the wallet, teeth facing up, this will make it very difficult for a pickpocket to remove your wallet without it catching on your pocket. You'll feel a tug. Go ahead and try this at home.

While all these suggestions are not foolproof, it may reduce your risk of becoming a victim. Remember this stuff happens EVERYWHERE, not just Brasil.

Antarctic Peninsula
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3. Re: ATMs in Rio: warning

Good information here.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
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4. Re: ATMs in Rio: warning

thinks alot good advise.........

Minnesota
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5. Re: ATMs in Rio: warning

Great info;

Can I add another suggestion?

Change your pin every few days. Most banks will let you do it via automated phone systems. If nothing else, change it as soon as you return home - sometimes the fraud starts to show up after a few weeks beyond when you would expect.

New York, NY
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6. Re: ATMs in Rio: warning

Be VERY careful with ATMs in Brazil.

I just returned from 6 weeks in Brazil - I was in Rio de Janeiro and Foz do Iguazu. I was extremely conscious of the ATMs I used for this exact reason, but unfortunately my card was cloned. They got away with $2,000US before the bank shut the card off, but to other travelers be very weary of which ATMs you use.

Philadelphia...
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7. Re: ATMs in Rio: warning

Paulix: do you recall where in Rio you used your card? It would be very helpful for others to know which ATMs in the city are most problematic.

New York, NY
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8. Re: ATMs in Rio: warning

Monte - While I can't be entirely sure, where I believe it was cloned was either at GIG airport - there is a section of the airport with a number of ATMs (my card does not have a chip so I tried it at each of these).

The other possibility is at an HSBC sponsored free standing ATM at Hotel Cataratas in Foz do Iguacu

Philadelphia...
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9. Re: ATMs in Rio: warning

Paulix—The usual suspects. Still, it amazes me that nothing is ever really done about this. GIG continues to be a favorite of ATM hackers.

Rio de Janeiro, RJ
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10. Re: ATMs in Rio: warning

If you need money before you leave the Rio airport (say for a taxi), it's best to change a few dollars at the Cambio) currency exchange office) inside the international arrivals concourse. Especially if its on a weekend or after business hours. The rates aren't great, but better to be safe than sorry.

When you arrive at your accommodations, use an ATM in a bank lobby as others have indicated, or exchange cash at one of the many cambios and travel agencies located on major streets in Copacabana and Ipanema.

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