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Old March 9th, 2005, 04:48 PM   #1
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Location: Duluth, Georgia
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BEWARE AIRPORT ATM's!!!!!

Boy do I have a story for you guys.
I advise anyone who travels for work to use ATM's only at known locations (ie. your bank), and use credit cards instead. My story...

So the company is sending our corporate video department to a show we were doing in Orlando, Florida. At the airport, I needed to withdraw cash for expenses.
Nothing unusual- I used the cash machine at the A concorse in America's busiest airport- Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson.

The weather was warm, the hours were long, the hotel was fantastic. My wife and kid joined me at the end of the week for a few days off vacation.

When I returned after two weeks and checked my email, I found a stack of automated messages from the bank. Oh oh. I have my account set up to email if the ballance goes below a certain point.

What I found made my stomache drop through the floor-- daily ATM charges from machines around...RUSSIA! My checking and savings accounts were completely wiped out and seriously in the negative. It was friday night- no time to stop my auto-deposit from work either.

I went to the nearest branch the next morning and gave them all of the information I could muster. My check card was surrendered, aaccount locked up. Fraud alerts issued to Credit reporting companies. Police didnt care. FBI didn't care. But, I kept calling and got ahold of a guy here named Clark Howard. He has a large show on the radio and on TV at WSB in Atlanta. His team have been helping me and contacting me on a regular basis following the story. Because of them, The FBI took a second listen to my story and gave me a number to the secret service. Although, they are threatening me with a tv interview (I've managed to stay BEHIND the camera for 20 years, thank you).

To make this tory short, I had some money stashed away or I'd be broke. I'm supposed to get everything back- after 10 days. over 3 thousand (huge vacuum sound here).

Beware the ATM machines. They have small boxes that can be placed on the backs to "scim" your card numbers. Also false covers- you never know.

Jeff Patnaude
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Old March 9th, 2005, 04:56 PM   #2
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Man that really stinks. I'd heard of this before.

Here's an old link someone sent me a while back that explains what these jerks do:

http://www.snopes.com/crime/warnings/atmcamera.asp
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Old March 9th, 2005, 05:01 PM   #3
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That has been tried all over including here in Vancouver.

Moreso, we have Interac here which is like using your bank card for ordinary point-of-sale purchases and there are many systems supported by different banks and sometimes by some unknown type of company.

The only way to be sure is to always check your balance and to have a bank that doesn't turn their back when there is fraud.
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Old March 9th, 2005, 05:09 PM   #4
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Yeah, it seems like things are getting worse and worse. I had the same credit card number for over 15 years and last month, totally out of the blue ... NO lost card or new merchants or anything like that -- WHAM -- several charges a day started piling up from tourist-type places in Mexico like the Hard Rock Cafe and other restaurants, etc. I've been a lot of places, but as it happens, never to Mexico.

In the course of the unreasonably slow process of sorting it out with Bank of America, one person there said that if the fraud is under $1500, they don't even try to do anything about it. Stupid policy, as I'm sure the douchebags who guessed my card info and then made fake but functional cards have done it before and are doing it now!

For me, it was simply a matter of notifying the bank and getting a new card. No direct net cost except my time and aggravation dealing with BA's lengthy voicemail labyrinth, but quite a shock.

BTW, I just saw on the local news that DSW shoe stores nationwide have been hacked and if you've bought anything there in the past 3 months...better check those monthly statements! A dangerous world just seems to be getting more so!
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Old March 11th, 2005, 09:07 PM   #5
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There was a pretty wild incident at Philadelphia International Airport maybe 6 years ago. IIRC, a disgruntled former employee who used to service ATM machines there showed up one day with his buddy. They picked up a machine one night and strapped it on to a dolly. The airport security people were very nice and helped them load it out. Then the guys drove off with the machine and cracked it open. Unfortunately for them, they were caught shortly afterwards.

You didn't say whether your card was a plain ATM card or a debit card. Be VERY CAREFUL with debit cards. Personally, I won't have one. There are all sorts of ways that people can tap into these, and unlike a credit card the money comes out of your account immediately. Hopefully you will get it straightened out with the bank eventually, but in the meantime - like Jeff- your account will be empty and it will be frozen.
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Old March 12th, 2005, 09:59 AM   #6
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Funny you should mention that Boyd. This country lives on debit
cards (with PIN codes I must add). Credit card transfers are
pretty rare here (although increasing), I dare to say that 90%
of the transactions by Dutch people is done by debit cards.

But then every company here also wires the money for your job
to YOUR BANK (no checks here) ONCE every month. And every
bank here has internet banking and I can wire money electronically
to any other bank in the country and usually to foreign ones as
well.

Credit cards are actually though of as pretty theft heavy etc.,
most people therefore prefer debit cards. But as I said, we do
need to enter our own PIN code before money can be withdrawn
or we can pay at shops etc.
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Old March 12th, 2005, 12:35 PM   #7
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Rob, everyone in Vancouver lives by debit cards as well. I don't usually think about it unless it looks like a dodgy place. But those kinds of places I usually then revert to cash.
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Old March 12th, 2005, 02:12 PM   #8
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I have two friends which were both burned by fraudulent use of their debit cards. In the case I'm most familiar with, she bought a pair of shoes online. A few weeks later she received notice from the e-tailer stating that their security had been compromised and someone had access to the credit card numbers. When she checked with her bank the next morning she learned that over $1,000 had been withdrawn from her account and it was overdrawn. Eventually the bank covered her loss after she filled out paperwork like an affadavit of fraud. In the meantime, the account was frozen and not usable for over two weeks.

I guess I should be a little more clear about "debit cards." I have a card issued by my Bank (PNC) which I can use to withdraw cash from an ATM, and I could use it at a store that supports ATM purchases and has a keypad where you enter your PIN. But I actually had to specifically request this sort of card because it's the norm for the bank to issue you a Visa debit card. Theoretically a merchant needs to ask for your PIN, but their software may not support it, and it may just look like a regular Visa card. In fact, when I opened my bank account and requested the basic debit card instead of the Visa, the account rep said "you know, we aren't supposed to say this, but I completely agree with your reasoning in not wanting the Visa card".

Now I don't know what's different in the consumer and banking laws in other countries, but it just makes absolutely no sense to use a debit card for purchases in the US (IMO). Why would I want to let a merchant immediately deduct money from my bank account when I can have a month to pay him with no interest? I pay my credit cards off every month and never pay finance charges or interest.

But an even bigger downside is that you lose all the consumer protection which credit cards are required to provide in the US. Let's say I buy something and it doesn't work, or isn't what it was advertised, or if I'm billed twice for the same thing, etc. All I need to do is place the item in contest with my card issuer. They will immediately remove the item from my current statement while they investigate. But if I buy the same thing on a debit card then the money is immediately gone from my bank account. Now the burden of getting it back falls on ME.

No thanks. As far as I'm concerned, debit cards are for getting cash at an ATM. Period.
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Old March 13th, 2005, 05:39 AM   #9
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There are differences indeed. Here debit cards are not like those
"visa debit cards". For example, they cannot (usually) be used
pay for stuff on the internet, most people use credit cards for that.

However, I can instruct my bank to undo any withdrawels from
my back, whether credit card or not.

The reasons every one uses these debit cards (which are much
more like your ATM cards!) is because it is coupled with a PIN,
so it much more difficult to commit fraude with it (since the
business you pay at never sees the pin, unless they record it
with a camera of course). With a credit card you just have the
number and the expiration date which are both on the receipt.

It's like this in most parts of western europe. However, you can
pay with most credit cards at a lot of places as well.

But if you ever visit Holland don't expect to pay with your credit
card in stores or things like a Mc Donalds. Most restaurants, hotels
and things like gas stations are no problem.

I already knew of the creditcard culture overthere. If I ever visit
I'm sure to bring my creditcard along (which by the way auto-
matically gets deducted from my account once every month).

I can also authorise companies to periodically withdraw money
from my bank account. It's used a lot here and things that
automatically get withdraw each month from my account are:

- rent (or mortgage)
- gas/electrical/water bill
- internet
- county tax
- state/country tax
- car insurance / tax
- phone bills (both landline and cell)

All the rest (like food, gas) I pay with my debit card. I rarely use
my credit card here in Holland, usually only for internet purchases
or when I go on vacation (to pay gas, hotel etc.).
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