Thursday, October 15, 2009
Photo by Fahad
Regarding the previous comments about mailboxes: We simply don’t have that kind here, the mail would get stolen right away, so of course, I’ve never seen a single mailbox in Argentina similar to the typical American ones.
Here people have a steel mailbox or a brick and mortar one, that has a small slot for the mail, and the opening is either out of reach due to a fence or in most cases locked, requiring a key to open.
Regarding ATMs and credit cards, there’s common sense measures I’m sure most of you already know and put to good use: Don’t go to ATMs late at night or during moments of the day when the streets are empty for whatever reason, in some parts of Argentina that’s usually between 12 AM and 4PM, specially on the provinces where nap time is still pretty common.
Use mostly ATMs in down town locations where there’s enough people around, preferably police presence, look around for anyone suspicious waiting nearby and checking out people.
Then there’s other tricks used by criminals:
1) Fake ATMs: Entire fake AMTs have been used here in Argentina. The objective is for you to insert you card (it gets copied) and then your password. Ops, AMT not working… After a few hours or a day of this ATM that apparently isn’t working, a lot of credit cards are copied along with their passwords. They just make a copy of your card and empty your account, or use it little by little, maybe without you even noticing it if they withdraw little money at a time. Of course this means a truck for moving the fake ATM, software knowledge, and lack of police presence, but it has happened here enough times.
2) Hidden cameras: Cameras keep getting smaller and smaller. Do you look around, the roof or corner for a small camera? Even if you do, you’d be hard pressed finding a well concealed pin hole camera. The camera records your password, name, etc. After that someone may snatch your purse or steal your wallet.
3) Card copying: When you’re at a restaurant, do you keep track of the credit card when the waiter takes it? If you don’t, there’s a chance that the person copies your credit card. It should only go through one machine, if they use it in a 2nd one for whatever reason, there’s a big chance your credit card was just copied.
4) Fisherman clip: You withdraw money at the ATM, everything looks fine but the money isn’t coming out? Look into the slot. Sometimes they place a piece of folded metal or plastic, a “fisherman” catching the bills. Some people think the machine isn’t working or its out of cash (usually it says so) so they just leave. After a while the criminal comes back, removes the clip and collects his loot.
Just a couple more tips to keep in mind.