I'm a credit card fraud victim!

The other night I went online to do some banking, plugging the money we've spent into a spreadsheet that functions are our checkbook ledger, when I discovered some funny transactions. There were three purchases from Ley Milenium in Culiacan, Mexico. Since we spent several days in Mexico between Christmas and New Years, I thought that, at first, these might just be some slow charges, but that thought lasted but a moment or two. (Culiacan and Cabo San Lucas are not at all close to one another.) Rachel wasn't home for me to ask, so I called the credit card issuer and got a stop put on the account. At first, talking with the woman on the phone, I thought it was Rachel's card that the charges were made on, but that turned out to be wrong. It was my card.

If the use was on Rachel's card, that they were made in Mexico would have been just a coincidence, because we never used her card, her debit card actually, while we were in Mexico, though we used mine a few times. I learned it was my card when I went to the store the next day and my card was denied. Calling the bank, I got the situation better explained. Not only had three charges gone through, along with a international exchange fee, but one had been denied, at a cafe in Tijuana. The message with the denial was to confiscate the card, but the person on the phone said that usually doesn't happen. Who wants to ask a criminal, even if they are a petty criminal, to fork over a stolen card? I'd think it's rather risky and not worth what a clerk gets paid.

What surprised me was not so much that the information had been stolen, because it wasn't the first time this had happened, and probably won't be the last. What surprised me was that they made a fake card and were using it. I'd like to see what this card looks like, not that I would expect anyone in Mexico, or even most of the continental U. S. to recognize the name of my credit union, but just to see if it even looks professional, real. I figured the number had been stolen from a receipt or something and used over the phone, not in person with plastic.

Thankfully, it's little more than an inconvenience to get this taken care of. Rachel called the police and we received a case number. The bank sent a fraud report form that we fill out, take to them and get notarized, and they give the money back. The first time this sort of thing happened a couple of years ago, we freaked out. Now, it's more like someone broke into our car or something, a nuisance to be sure, but not that big of a deal, at least when it comes to how we react. We stop the card, we fill out the forms, we get our money back, and I have to either learn a new PIN for the new card, or I go to the bank and reset the pin to the one I already remember. It's a pain, but I'll have to live with it. Otherwise, I'll be like the guy in the VISA commercial who slows down the party by paying with cash or a check. Doing that must might bring on a recession.

For the record, we used the card only four places in Mexico: Mi Casa, a good restaurant I recommend, and one so dependent upon tourists that I can't imagine they'd be that sloppy with the information. The other was Cabo Adventures, where we bought pictures of our trip on the New Zealand America's Cup sailboats (they don't let you take your own pictures). Another was a bank, where I made some cash withdrawals. I wouldn't think either of those would be sloppy with the information. finally, we ate at a small restaurant in Cabo San Jose and there too, seeing as how everyone in the place was a tourist, I don't think they'd jeopardize things by ripping people off in this way. I may be wrong about all of this, but I don't think it's that big a deal or much to worry about. I know I'm not going to, at least I won't after I get my money back.

Comments

Sadly, a lot of us have been

Sadly, a lot of us have been through the same situation. I for one was so scared when I saw my card bill...I thought the situation will never be resolved.
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masseys credit

Mexican Credit Card fraud

Wow! Sounds hauntingly familiar! And no, it is not an innocuous problem! We just returned from a one week trip to Cabo San Lucas, and used my credit card very little. Upon our return, we learned that my card had been cloned and so far the thieves have made off with over $15,000 in cash and merchandise in just three days! We also used the card for Cabo Adventures (one of the few places), so after reading that the original poster also used them and had his card cloned I would say it is a high probability that the thieves are in that business. The charges were made all over mainland Mexico and Texas while we were in Cabo and during our flight home. Sure, the credit card company is going to eat it, but I'm sure we all know how they are going to recoup their losses!
I have traveled to Mexico for the past 40 years, and this has never happened to me before. I have read that it is an international crime syndicate that is responsible, and that it is headquartered in Mexico since there are no laws against credit card fraud there. I may stop going to Mexico altogether, but if I do return, I will operate only on a cash basis.

drscot

we all pay

I wonder if Cabo Adventures could be the common denominator. It need not be that business itself, but could be happening between them and their bank, through snagging wireless transmissions or who knows what. But it probably is a bigger concern than as I'm seeing it. Yes, banks pass the costs along to their customers, so we all pay for the losses over the long haul. In a way, though, it's a sort of hidden insurance embedded in the costs of anyone working with their bank. It's not like the banks are taking it in the shorts because of this fraud. No banks are failing because of this fraud, not the way they are failing because of the frauds they've perpetrated themselves on consumers. I guess that's why I can't get worked up about it. Still, maybe cash is the way to go next time in Mexico is only to avoid having to deal with the uncertainty.

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