Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ATM info stolen

A few days ago, I posted information about ATM information being stolen in Oslo.  When my friend's info was stolen, they were using her card in Peru.  The bank, unfortunately, did not notice and they emptied her account.  She is working on getting her funds back now.

I tried to withdraw money when I landed at 9:30pm in Finland, tired after packing and traveling to a new place.  I walked all over the airport until I finally found a machine, but it wouldn't let me take money.  Same with the next one.  I was curious, but not yet concerned.   I paid for my transportation with credit card and went to sleep at the hostel.

The next day, I tried to use my card for an archipelago dinner cruise --I was hungry and it was only 40 Euros for 2.5 hours.  Seemed like a great deal.  But the ATM card was declined.  Then I knew I was in trouble.  I used my credit card and called my bank from my international cell.  Then I found out that somebody tried to use my card in a Walmart in Texas and somewhere in California on July 13th.  I was definitely in Norway at that time.  Since I had enough money with me, I didn't need to make any withdrawals until here in Finland.  They told me the account was closed and they could not reactivate it.

I'm now trying to find ways of getting cash.  I do not have a pin code for my credit card (and they cannot give me one over the phone).  If I can't work something out today, I think I need to go to western union.  My credit card said they could wire money from my card -- but that is very expensive.  My bank said to call them today because they had an idea about something.

This is all part of the travel experience.  It can't always be good, and these challenges push you and are good learning experiences.  In the future, I should travel with one of those refillable AAA cards or something that would allow me to get cash.  It is too risky to rely on that one card.  What if I lost it?  Or of course, what if this situation happens again.  I'm not sure if they got my money in Oslo or back in NY .  .  . but I know to be more careful now. You have to cover you hand as you enter the pin code.  If they don't have the pincode, they can't use your card in other atm machines and stores.  Apparently . . . a camera records the pin code and they insert a device into the atm machine that reads your magnetic strip.  And they reproduce the card.  

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