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TRAVEL Hints and Tips Post your TIPS to travellers - all the interesting little tidbits you learned on the road about packing, where to get stuff, and how to cope with problems. Please make sure the subject describes the tip clearly!
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Old 14 Mar 2012
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Looking after your cash at an ATM

There is a problem with ATMs described in the thread below which doesn't seem to ever go away - as is usual, the criminals stay ahead of the punters!!

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Old 5 Apr 2012
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ATM criminality

A documentary shown on UK TV tonight stated that 92% of those engaged in this criminality in the UK are from one country, namely Romania.
When a "foot soldier" is arrested and deported, others are right there in line ready to come to the UK and take over.
The statistics, and organisation, behind this type of crime are staggering, especially for London (but it has occurred in a lot of the large cities and towns here).
The police have video evidence of the criminals queueing up to interfere with the cash machines at banks located in the west end of London; it was also stated that this may be just a prelude to such activity forecast to take place during the time of the Olympics.

So what can you do?
One simple procedure to adopt is to use only those cash machines that are located inside bank premises or similar places, such as shops or within secured foyers, that make it harder for the criminals to interfere with the machines.

Always make a good, close inspection of the machine that you intend to use; some of the technology in use is very obvious, such as a mobile phone "double taped" above the keyboard so the PIN number that you enter is recorded by the video capability of the phone.
But, some of the tech is very sophisticated and a very good copy of the whole front face of the cash machine.

Stay away from popular ATMs such as those in the west end of London.

And, then there is the skimming your credit/debit card in places such as restaurants, but that is a whole different subject.
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Old 5 Apr 2012
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and pin hole cameras implanted or drilled into the panelling above the keypad. Plenty of tricks up their sleeves.
'Life begins at the end of your comfort zone'-
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Old 6 Apr 2012
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In the Netherlands we have the same problem and indeed, most (allmost all) of the gangs are from Romania.
I always try to use ATM machines inside bank offices.
Jan Krijtenburg

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Old 6 Apr 2012
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In a similar way, I read that, if suspicious, it's good to insert the card and then abort the operation.

The card should come back out, but if it doesn't the ATM has probably been manipulated, but at least you did not introduce the PIN. Time to stay there and call for rescue (although they may have perfectionned the technology since then and now you get it back!).


PS: After all these stories, it must certainly be hard to be an honest Romanian working abroad, you really have to prove it. I was told that Romanians staying in their homeland were happy because the most dishonest compatriots left looking for better business chances elsewhere in the EU/Schengen.
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Old 6 Apr 2012
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Am afraid its not just Romanians - Shell UK suffered a large amount of card fraud at its outlets some years ago . In the force i work in we had several local Shell service stations that were stealing peoples details as they paid for their fuel . The staff were Tamil and they were putting pin hole cameras in the roofs and recording the nos as they were entered . The customers then suffered large cash withdrawels form various branches of the Bank Of Burundi world wide , as far away as Australia and Indonesia !! The suggestion was this was to fund The Tigers .

Also beware of the " Youve dropped a ten pound note " con when operating the cashpoint Lebonese Loops used to be a favourite as did the entire front of the machine being false .

Barclays used to suffer most from this type of offence locally due to the type of slot they had but these have now been changed .

Definately try to use machines inside a branch if push comes to shove .

If anyone wants to know of any other scams then feel free to PM me , likewise if they come across something unusual in their travels i am always keen to know as it eventually comes here
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Old 7 Apr 2012
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Originally Posted by estebangc View Post
In a similar way, I read that, if suspicious, it's good to insert the card and then abort the operation.

The card should come back out, but if it doesn't the ATM has probably been manipulated, but at least you did not introduce the PIN. Time to stay there and call for rescue (although they may have perfectionned the technology since then and now you get it back!).

That is one technique but I think it may be earlier technology; I understand that it is based on a simple bit of "bent wire" that is placed in the card slot which intercepts the card and stops it being returned to the card holder; in the meantime you will have entered your PIN which is seen by a camera placed above the keyboard. You are supposed to walk away - to make a complaint/investigate further about your situation (probably aware that cash machines do, occasionally, retain cards). In meantime, the criminals have been watching the ATM and step forward to remove the bit of bent wire and they now have your original card + a record of the PIN on their camera - they can go on doing this all day long, moving around between cash machines.
Those in the documentary were using more sophisticated technology that can read your card (+ the PIN via a camera if you don't shield it from view) and they can continue doing this indefinitely, making a series of records of card magnetic strip details + the PIN. These are then cloned onto new cards.
For instance, in one raid by the police, a parcel containing 2000 brand new cards issued in Malaysia were posted to the UK for card duplication.
As I mentioned above, the criminals manage to stay ahead of us.
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Old 4 Jul 2012
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As a girl i always do feel a little bit insecure at times in places where there is not much of people around and the ATM is located in that place. I look to avoid using ATM at such places.
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Old 24 Jul 2012
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Some great ATM tips can be found here: Tips and Guidelines for Using ATMs Abroad

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Old 30 Jul 2012
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Just a quick tip…….i get my extra funds when i buy groceries, most super markets will let you withdraw a small amount <$100 when you purchase goods with you debit card. Safe, controlled and simple!
I once ruled the world, till mum told me it was only the garden!
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