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ATM Fraud Continues in Antigua

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Dec 6th, 2011, 12:40 PM
  #1
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ATM Fraud Continues in Antigua

ATM fraud has been going on in Antigua for over a year now and although there has not been much talk around town about it in the past few months, it has resurfaced with many more locals and tourists having their accounts hacked. The bank mentioned the most is Banco de America Central (BAC) and their credit card portion Credomatic. They have the agency right on the park in Antigua opposite the cathedral. They have a nice entrance with three or four ATMs and a guard on duty. My account was hacked last Wednesday, and THEY called me to inquire about the unauthorized withdrawals! Since then I have made three trips to the bank and my account was even debited with charges made after the account was blocked. It does no good to get pissy with the bank employees; they are just doing and saying what they are told. No, the funds have not been returned to my account yet, but they keep assuring me that it will be "tomorrow by 9 am." So if you are planning to visit Guatemala, DO NOT USE THE ATM MACHINES AT BANCO DE AMERICA CENTRAL/BAC/CREDOMATIC. Frankly, I don't know any machines that are safe in Guatemala. I changed to a bank that only uses an old fashioned passbook!
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Dec 6th, 2011, 01:11 PM
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Thanks always do business inside big banks I trust only

NEVER travel with debit card too much skimming

You are dead on thanks for posting.

Credit Card only for me 0% liability.

Check my statement carefully still have been the

victim of fraud down there fortunately bank made it good.

Maras(Gangs) doing most of it travel.state.gov Guatemal

for a heads up on all the many risks.
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Dec 7th, 2011, 08:52 AM
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I know this has been a problem for a long time. I'm sorry to hear it's still going on. Thanks for the heads up. I've always taken travelers checks to Guatemala for this reason. You can't really use them to pay for purchases, but I do exchange them for quetzales at banks and get my spending money that way. It's not as convenient as using an ATM. But neither is having your account hacked.
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Dec 7th, 2011, 09:26 AM
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Some Spanish schools, hotels, dive ops, etc. still take travelers checks in payment; I find out ahead and pay that way if there's not an add'l fee.
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Dec 7th, 2011, 10:48 AM
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Judi, are those the red ATMs?
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Dec 7th, 2011, 02:27 PM
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Yes, I think they are red. They have a lion head logo on them. You can see what the logo looks like on their web site www.bac.net
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Dec 7th, 2011, 07:01 PM
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Thought so ... The past yer or two there have been warnings to avoid the ret ATMs as those seem to have extraordinary problems. I've used the blue ones only a fair number of times without problem.
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Dec 7th, 2011, 07:43 PM
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I've never had any problems using BAC ATMs here in Costa Rica or other Central American countries, but, yeah, Guatemala!
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Dec 8th, 2011, 08:45 AM
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Yesterday (a week after my account was hacked) I checked the account on-line about every hour to see if the money had been returned to my account. It hadn't. BUT this morning, at 6 am the funds were there! I was in the bank when it opened to withdraw it all. I was expecting a !fijese! but got the funds okay. When I was leaving, DH and I ran into a friend who writes a travel column and he could not believe I actually got my money back in 5 working days! Everybody else has been told it would take 35 days.
The ATMs in the lobby of BAC are white (not red) with a red lion head on them.
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Jan 2nd, 2012, 07:35 PM
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I"ve spent many months (years even) in Guate, and have been home in the states for 6 months now. Then two weeks ago suddenly my ATM was used three times in Lima, Peru. I attribute this to my use of ATMs in Guatemala. So here's my thoughts on all of this. If you're in Guatemala for more than a short time you'll probably need an ATM card. This is especially true because in this country it's just as dangerous to have lots of cash on hand as it is to use the ATMs; and you can't use traveler's checks everywhere. But there are things you can do to protect yourself and also have easy access to money:
--Do NOT bring a debit card, those are even easier to scam on. Only use ATMs
--Have the bank limit your daily withdrawals to $200. That way if you get scammed at least it won't be all your money.
--Arrange to have automatic emails sent to you whenever there is a transaction on your account. Then you'll know right away if your account has been compromised.
--Let the bank know you're in Guatemala, so that they know any transactions coming from other countries are fraudulent.
--Put most of your money into a savings account that is NOT linked to your ATM card. Then when you need money, go into your account online, transfer the money you need into your ATM-linked account. Then go straight to the ATM and withdraw it.
--Finally, when you get home, open up a new checking account, and transfer all your money into it. Get a new atm card with a new password.

It's a lot of hassle, but if you want to spend more than a week in Guatemala, this is really the safest way to go. Good luck!
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