Beware of ATM's in Istanbul

Jun 24th, 2009, 06:23 AM
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Beware of ATM's in Istanbul

A warning: while in Istanbul, we used an ATM in the morning, seemingly with no problem. We later used a different ATM in the afternoon. We put our card in but it never came out, nor did we get our money. I immediately called my bank in the States & was told that my account was accessed after my first withdrawal & money was taken out & then again after our card disappeared in the machine. They made 3 withdrawals in a day & luckily we caught it & stopped usage in the card. Coincidentally, another guest at our hotel was a victim of credit card fraud--his 3 credit cards which we used in Istanbul were charged $26,000. BE CAREFUL and either bring Lira with you or exchange your money at the airport.
jenack is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 06:30 AM
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I'm sorry this happned to you but this problem is hardly unique to Istanbul. A friend of mine had a similar experience in Peru. The good news is that my friend was fully refunded her money in a short time frame.

Unfortunately this happens all over the world including the US.
P_M is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 06:32 AM
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I don't understand your story at all. What does <> mean? HIS card? YOUR card? If you're going to report a problem, which is useful information, you need to do it in language that a normal person can understand. This is gibberish.
StCirq is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 06:36 AM
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That is really a shame, jenack. It sounds as if you lost money for the 3 withdrawals that were made. We were in Istanbul in March and had no problems with the ATM's, but were very careful about usage while we accessed our account. My husband stood right behind me (he's much taller than I) so that noone could see me. We also found that not all ATM's are created equal when it comes to charges. We used the bank of ATM's over in Sultanahmet by Aya Sophia/Blue Mosque. We did find one that was affiliated with a bank that we used with reliability while we were there.

I have read other places about all the different ways that your ATM# can be accessed from a machine. Good of you to make everyone aware of your problem.
opaldog is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 07:13 AM
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Exchanging money at the airport is not a good idea because you get a HORRID exchange rate.

If you are going to be a nervous nelly and not use an ATM card, then at least go to a bank and exchange your money.

I would be terrified being a tourist walking around with thousands of dollars in my wallet, however.

I think using an ATM is still the best bet.

Thin--never had a problem with ATM's in Istanbul, only carpet salesmen.

Cries_Van_Notebook is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 07:34 AM
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You took the words right out of my mouth Thin. If you are uncomfortable using the ATM then shop around Istanbul for the best exchange facility. Exchanging at the airport or in the US is the most expensive way to go.
P_M is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 05:33 PM
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Hi Jenack,

This is very interesting that you posted this. I am glad you did because the same thing happened to me in Istanbul the end of May. I put my card in and instead of getting the option to choose a language, I got a screen in Turkish. It asked for the bank identification numner. I thought this was the pin so I entered my pin. I did not get another screen, and the ATM ate my card. It would not spit it out no matter what button I pushed. I waited for someone else to use the machine to see if it would spit it out before or after their transaction, but it did not. This happened on a Saturday, so I could not enter the bank for help. I called VISA and was told that if the ATM ate my card, it should be secure, but when I got home, I found out that $459 had been taken.This happened at an Akbank between the Aya Sofia area and Sikeci. They tried to access my card many more times (all at Akbank locations that were different, interestingly) but the pin number was denied and they already had maxed out the amount for the day. I suspect an inside job at Akbank. Which bank did you use?

cosmos is offline  
Jun 26th, 2009, 01:15 AM
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This is one of the reasons why I have been saying for years on another use a ATM DIRECTLY outside of a national turkish bank..

"One thing I would just like to point out is if you use a ATM please use one that is located outside of a national bank and also during regular business hours. Mon-Fri 9-5.

This way if you experience any problems with your card you can directly report it at the bank. Also do make sure that you advise your bank of your planned travel to Turkey. If not the bank after a transaction or two may freeze your card after one or two transactions."

Also I have been living in Turkey for many years and as a local this is my choice when I use ATM'S..I ONLY use the one directly outside of my own bank and branch..

there are plenty of turkish banks available throughout Turkey and Istanbul..however some small villages may not have banks or ATM' need to go to the larger towns..

PS..I use Turkiye Is Bank..and Garanti bank..
brenda66 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2009, 04:42 PM
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linawood is offline  
Jun 27th, 2009, 04:54 PM
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Thanks Brenda66. I will be going back to Istanbul in Septemebr adn I am a bit worried about using the ATM, and yet, I know it is the most convenient method to get money as well as the best exchange as I am not charged by mmy credit union. Are these banks easy to find and accessible in the Sultanahmet area? Thanks!
cosmos is offline  
Jun 28th, 2009, 12:19 PM
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Make sure you go to an ATM outside a bank. That way, if there's a problem, someone is inside to help you. There are banks all over the city.
jenack is offline  
Jul 8th, 2009, 02:31 AM
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I agree with Brenda66, if you can try to use one next to the bank, but if you have to use a single ATM outside on the street, look at the keyboard, secreen and above you if you see anything out of ordinary, they install a small device and a remote controlled mini cam to see your pin number, they add a small piece of plastic where you insert your card so they can take back and copy all the information and having seen your pin code from the cam, untill you realize they may use your card and its limits. I have seen on TV both in Turkey and elswhere happening the same way. Banks are putting a lot of effort to change systems, additional security and softwares etc, but things still do happens. I can not agree with an insider from Akbank would dare to do something like this as anything made from a bank is registered including space tabs someone enters on the keyboard.....

Another comment; Istanbul airport has banks on duty 7/24. One can change money with daily exchange rate so nothing to worry. Changing money at home can be costly but not here in the banks, so changing some money at arrival always helps.

Happy travelling,

propertravel is offline  
Jul 8th, 2009, 03:07 AM
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It's called skimming and can happen anywhere, even at a bank ATM. Always check the slot you put the card into very carefully, and make sure you cover your hand completely whilst putting in the PIN. If you are unsure about a slot then find another machine.
It has happened a lot in the Netherlands, particularly at NS ticket machines. They now have a new slot for the card which should (hopefully) make it impossible to skim the card, though there are skimmers who still try it.
hetismij is offline  
Jul 8th, 2009, 08:32 AM
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Luisah is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 07:03 AM
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I used several ATMs in Istanbul,each was outside of and connected to a bank branch. I was always offered instructions in English (as an option) and I had no troubles, I'm glad to say. But even in the USA, I only use bank ATMs,not the ones posted inside or outside of newsstands or little shops.
elaine is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 01:24 AM
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Instead of using the ATMs outside, try using the ones inside the banks.Many banks in Istanbul have also ATMs inside the branch, where you pass through a security.I am sure they will be safe.
sunshine01 is offline  
Aug 16th, 2009, 03:24 PM
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These are very good tips. I did not realize that there are ATMs inside some banks. I will be sure to check this out when I go. I have always been extremely careful to use an ATM attached to a bank and believe me, I never thought this would happen to me. I will definitely make sure to exchange enough money to last the weekend or through any bank closures.
cosmos is offline  
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