We recommend travellers to use their ATM cards
to get cash when in a foreign country, because more often than not
it is the most efficient, fastest and least costly way of
obtaining the foreign currency you need.
Using your ATM card and credit cards does have
risks, not just in Asia but the world over, and travellers should
always be very wary when using them to avoid unwanted problems.
There are things to look out for when
using your cards to ensure you do not become a victim:
- Never ever give out your security number on
the phone, unless you are 100% certain who you are talking to. If
someone calls you and claims to be from your bank or credit card
company, ring them back on their general number (not the number
the caller gives you) to make sure they really are who they say
they are before you give out any details.
- Make sure your bank, or the bank you are
using, is not the one ripping you off. In Thailand for example,
the bank you are using charges THB 150 per withdrawal. You can get
around this only by using AEON bank ATM machines that do not
- When using an ATM machine, always make sure
there is nobody loitering around suspiciously, if there is, use
another ATM machine. If you feel someone is standing too close to
you while you type in your PIN number - even a friend, ask them to
step back, and always make sure you try and hide as best you can
the number you are entering. We heard of one story where a gang
had actually set up a telescope from an elevated position across
the street so they could read the ATM number as it was being typed
- Always check the ATM machine carefully before
you use it. If there is anything about the ATM machine which seems
a little strange don't use it, use another. This includes
carefully checking the slot where you insert the card, and making
sure there are no hidden cameras anywhere.
One ATM scam going around the world at the
moment is where people add what is known as a skimmer to the front
of the ATM machine where you insert the card, they then stay near
by and the details you enter into the machine are electronically
transmitted to them, at the same time, a wireless camera is
disguised to look like a leaflet holder and is mounted in a
position to view your ATM PIN number. Once the process is complete
they simply need to make a card with the information they gained
and they can then use it at any ATM machine just as you would.
Another is where people put a clear plastic
sleeve into the card slot. Unsuspecting users then insert their
card but the machine is unable to read the strip (because of the
sleeve) and so the machine keeps asking the user to renter the
password, after a while the user gives up thinking the machine has
swalllowed the card. What has actually happened is the ATM card is
inside the sleeve and someone has managed to see the number you
entered, from there they simply remove the card from the sleeve
and use your account! The way to avoid this happening to you is to
run your finger along the slot, if you feel any prongs or bumps
don't use that machine.
These stories of using your credit cards
and ATM cards are not meant to scare you from using them we hope
they encourage you to use them more carefully.
on using Credit Cards Safely.
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