Beware od this CC scam in South America

Old Mar 14th, 2006, 02:11 PM
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Beware od this CC scam in South America

I'm touring South America, currently in one of my favorite cities, Buenos Aires. This warning is especially true to my favorite city.

Many very legit merchants/salespeople will tell you the CC is not running through the machine. They will inform you that they need to "trace" the front of the CC on a thin paper. What I mean is this. If you remember as a kid, when you "traced", "copied" a coin by putting it under a thin sheet of paper and running a pencil over the paper to get a perfect "copy" of the coin. That is exactly what many of these people are doing. They also either memorize and/or write the 3 digit number on the back of the CC and ask for a verification by either a DL or passport. With that info they are able to sell it to a "gang" in the US to make fraudulent charges somewhere in one of the southern US states.

How do I know this? 1)I have been taken for a ride and 2)I actually had a chance to talk to a secuity chief of a major US based bank today at the US embassy. She was the one that opened my eyes as to what happened to me since my last visit here last year.

She strongly advised using CC only for the hotel. Anything else in Argentina, especially Buenos Aires, use cash.
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Old Mar 14th, 2006, 02:13 PM
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Use cash, or when told of the above need to "trace" the card, RUN!!!!! actually pay cash....
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Old Mar 14th, 2006, 02:23 PM
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AAFrequentFlyer,

I am sorry to hear of this "ride" you have been taken on.

Thank you so much for posting this tip!!!

Sharon
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Old Mar 15th, 2006, 12:08 AM
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After posting this yesterday, I actually witnessed this scam yesterday evening at a local photo developing shop. It's a major photo company franchise (think of the giant US photo company)
Anyway, I went there to pick up some photos that I took at the Sunday football game. An elderly Canadian couple from Toronto were there before me getting some of their digital photos transferred unto a CD. The bill was ~$20 total and they gave the clerk their AMEX CC. He "tried" to run it through the machine few times but it did not work. He did exactly as I explained above. Traced the card, asked for a DL or passport to "verify" and wrote down all the info from the back of the card. This was for a $20 charge. Think about it.

Anyway, without any proof that this was possibly fraudulent, I did not say anything, but as they left the store and I still had few minutes of wait for my pictures I went after and caught up to them outside to explain what just "possibly" happened. I told them to either change the card NOW or at the very least, keep an eye on their account. They were shocked, surprised and grateful.

Just be careful.....you have been warned!
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Old Mar 15th, 2006, 12:50 AM
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AAFF: first you say: "I actually witnessed this scam yesterday evening" and then you say: "without any proof that this was possibly fraudulent".

Wouldnīt you say there is a contradiction here?
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Old Mar 15th, 2006, 12:53 AM
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Yes and no. I witnessed what I thought was a scam, but without any proof, it was not my place to say anything in front of the store clerk. I did follow up with the couple outside so you can say that I was pretty sure it was a scam. How they deal with it later is up to them.
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Old Mar 15th, 2006, 02:24 AM
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AAFF: you said: "I have been taken for a ride".

Could you tell us a little more about what happened?
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Old Mar 15th, 2006, 04:24 AM
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Hi, I would also like to know more about it. Never happened to me in Buenos AIres. No offense but it seems out of the question to allow someone to trace your card!! In Miami sometime ago, dishonest waiters in some good restaurants had a device hidden in their pockets that allowed them to get superstitiously information from your card and then it would be used illegally by a band of thieves . This is no longer in place as far as I know but it would be a good idea to keep an eye always on our credit cards, something that is not that easy in restaurants.
Picture leaving your date with the expresso and dash after the waiter...?
However we should be more alert with our credit cards which each year as far as I know are subject to many scams ... then we have to made it up for them paying extra charges, like these 1, 2 or 3 % charged for expenses overseas.
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Old Mar 16th, 2006, 07:11 PM
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The fraud department at my bank told me this type of fraud and also just plain writing down the numbers by restaurant people and store clerks is rampant in Mexico too. The bank advised using cash rather than the credit card when in a foreign country.
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Old Mar 16th, 2006, 08:17 PM
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avrooster,

I don't need to explain myself to you. I posted this as a general warning and how visitors to BA deal with it it's up to them.

I will say this. When visiting friends at the US Embassy I was informed that many of the major US banks security chiefs were in BA to deal with this. Obviously there is a problem.

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Old Mar 17th, 2006, 01:05 AM
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AAFF:

It is quite obvious you donīt "need to explain yourself to me" and no one has asked you to.

However, a lady asked the same question and you also chose not to answer.

I still feel your "general warning" is weakened by the fact that you refuse to explain the whole problem.



don't need to explain myself to you. I posted this as a general warning and how visitors to BA deal with it it's up to them.

I will say this. When visiting friends at the US Embassy I was informed that many of the major US banks security chiefs were in BA to deal with this. Obviously there is a problem.
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Old Mar 17th, 2006, 01:07 AM
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I'm sorry. The last two paragraphs of my previous post should be disregarded, as they are part of what AAFF wrote.
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Old Mar 17th, 2006, 03:47 AM
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AAFrequentFlyer, I shall be soon in Bs As and of course I am concerned . Did the people at the US Embassy told you that it is better to take money from the ATMs machines and then pay cash?
Is this in essence their advice? Not a bad idea since ATMs work fine both for debit and for credit cards. I would love some guidance on this subject specially if this is going on in other countries too...
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Old Mar 17th, 2006, 11:24 AM
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Here is what I was told by the bank's security chief at the US Embassy.

1)Using a CC is fine as long as it's run through the regular computer/printer. (most legit hotels and restaurants will not cause any problems, but there have been some employees caught at a VERY major international chain hotel, doing the scam).

2)Anytime, you are being told that the CC is not going through the computer/printer and they need to "trace" the card, pay with cash and RUN!

3)Using ATMs is fine.

4)At the end, just keep an eye on your account for couple of months and at the first instance of something wrong, call and cancel your card.

5)It's not automatic fraud when the merchant wants to "trace" the card, but according to her it's a very good chance......so why take the chance?

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Old Mar 17th, 2006, 01:13 PM
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Thank you. I guess from my point of view it is out of the question for anyone to trace my card. No way. But at the same time I guess that when I go to a restaurant I shall make a point to pay cash because I cannot imagine how can I keep an eye on it.I shall do it not only in Buenos AIres, but here in the US also, as I said in Miami the scam spread out a lot specially in South Beach. Now I wish to believe it is ok.
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Old Mar 18th, 2006, 12:03 PM
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I have had an Amex gold card for the last 25 years. CC coupons have been printed with it hundreds or thousands of times in Buenos Aires and I have not had a problem in 25 years, So, UNLESS IT IS A NEW PROBLEM, I feel it is being exaggerated.
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Old Mar 18th, 2006, 12:30 PM
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Hi AA, I have an Italian friend in Italy that works for a large financial institution. He is being sent to NYC for a conference regarding rampart creditcard fraud throughout Europe. The criminals always seem to be one step ahead.

Warnings here in my area a couple of weeks ago about being aware when using ATM machines, even at your own bank, as criminals are adding small equipment that will "steal" all your ATM info including your PIN. I don't exactly understand how it works, you probably do.

Reading about various scams is good information IMO.
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Old Mar 18th, 2006, 12:55 PM
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I think this is a useful heads up, AA. Some restaurants now use handheld swipers which they bring to the table so your card does not leave your sight. I don't know if they use them in Argentina. CC fraud is varied and international so it is good to have a tip on avoiding it. Thanks.
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