Natal Brazil

Information about the city of Natal, in Brazil.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Be careful with your bank cards.

Tribuna do Norte reported today that two men were arrested for attempt of stealing money using bank cards.

The men acted like that: they spotted foreigners having trouble using bank cards in the ATMs (Automatic Telling Machines) of busy Shopping Centers (in this case, the Praia Shopping, in Ponta Negra); they offer help; one of the men pretends to clean the card by, for example, rubbing it with a handkerchief; the other man distracts the victim; the man holding the card uses a small device to get a copy of the information registered in the magnetic band of the card; later on, they use this information to generate another card, and use the card to make purchases.

Never let anyone take your card.

The ATMs which operate international credit cards normally display messages in Portuguese and English.
A common problem, however, is that the card reader can't recognize the magnetic information on the card; in such cases, a message is shown in Portuguese only: "Problemas na Leitura do Cartão. Tente novamente.", which means "Problems in reading the card. Try again". This is usually caused because the card is old or damaged. To make it worse, the card must be used twice: once to start the transaction, and once to complete it; after three attempts, the machine aborts the transaction.

Most times, the best action is: clean the card; remove the card carefully from the reader; don't pull it neither too fast nor too slow; don't apply lateral or vertical forces on the card as you pull it.
If there is one, ask assistance to the bank employee (they wear uniforms and have a badge).
It may be a good idea to ask a new card to your bank, before coming to Brazil.


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4:18 AM  

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