A problem that has apparently been around for a while but not one that I had heard of before.
We all know about ATM security - keeping your PIN safe, not using machines that look dodgy, being very careful about who is watching, etc. But we have now had money taken apparently without anyone knowing the PIN or physically seeing our card.
We have been travelling for a while now and have used a credit/debit card as our primary source of funds. Because our credit union charges a flat fee for withdrawals we tend to take out large amounts if we can. We used an ATM in Lima a few days ago. It was in a group of ATMs attached to a bank near the Plaza de Armas adjacent to the Municipal building. That transaction was fine.
On the next occasion we used the card, a couple of days later in Aguas Caliente and then in Cuzco we made a number of attempts to obtain cash. On each occasion, after proceeding in the normal manner to put in the PIN and select an amount, we had a message saying Transaction Cancelled. Unable to Process Transaction or Unable to Contact Your Bank.
We had been told that the ATMs at Aguas Calientes were occasionally empty and didn't worry too much. At Cuzco we were more concerned after we tried a number of different ATMs and logged in to our bank on line. Our statement showed that every time we had made a request the amount had been debited from our account. All of the attempts added up to a pretty good amount.
Our bank was helpful on the phone. They didn't specifically say so but it sounds like the transactions were actually made in the Dominican Republic - one country we have missed so far. We should, I hope, get the money back.
Issues with ATMs are not unusual and apparently this sort of thing has happened in the past but it still might be useful to keep a close eye on your statements if you see these sorts of messages.
I've heard of this happened in Laos too.
wow I can imagine how stressed I would be ;-( I hope the bank will help you get it back??