US Embassy Warning via Credit Card Fraud

POP Bad Boy

Bronze
Jun 27, 2004
984
30
0
Received this email from the US Embassy today:

There has been a recent rash of thefts of credit and debit card numbers from members of the U.S. Embassy and expatriate community in the Dominican Republic. Based on an initial assessment of the information provided, NO singular location of card usage has been identified. This investigation has been turned over to the U.S. Secret Service (USSS). The Embassy will continue to support the USSS with this investigation and will provide additional information as soon as it is available.

American citizens in the Dominican Republic may wish to refrain from using credit and debit cards to make purchases or to withdraw cash from ATMs here until more information regarding the source of the problem is known. Americans who use a credit card or debit card in the Dominican Republic may prefer to use one with a low maximum credit line. It is advisable to monitor your accounts for fraudulent charges at least every other day.

If you have used a credit or debit card to make a purchase or have withdrawn cash from an ATM in the Dominican Republic within the last two months, the Embassy suggests that you monitor your accounts closely for fraud. Report unauthorized charges to your credit card company or bank immediately and DO NOT file complaints with vendors.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at Welcome to Travel.State.Gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found. Up to date security information can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00am to 8:00pm EST, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
American citizens traveling or residing overseas are encouraged to register with the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the State Department's travel registration website at https://travelregistration.state.gov.
For any emergencies involving American citizens, please contact the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit of the U.S. Embassy. The Consular Section Embassy is located at the corner of Cesar Nicolas Penson Street and M?ximo G?mez Avenue, Santo Domingo, D.R.; telephone 809-731-4294; after hours emergency telephone 809-221-2171; ACS unit fax 809-689-6142; e-mail acssantodom@state.gov; web page Embajada de los Estados Unidos en Santo Domingo, República Dominicana.

American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit
Consular Section
U.S. Embassy Santo Domingo
Tel.: (809) 731-4294
Fax: (809) 689-6142
E-mail: acssantodom@state.gov
This Email is UNCLASSIFIED based on the definitions provided in E.O. 12958.
 

Chip

Platinum
Jul 25, 2007
16,772
420
0
Santiago
I recently had my credit card number stolen and used in the US and a very good friend and neighbor in Santiago had it happen to him a month ago. We are still trying to figure out where it happened.
 

Hillbilly

Moderator
Jan 1, 2002
18,946
503
113
Two employees of VisaNet were caught and three more are on the run. So far they are talking about 40 million RD$ in fraudulent charges.
The information is obtained inside the CARDNET facility...
I had two friends go through this...

HB
 

davidleemac58

New member
Nov 7, 2007
50
0
0
I had my mastercard hit june3 thru june 7 for 1000 dollars,the only place I used it was at a rental company next to SDQ....Does this mean they stole my number or isthere a way for others to get a hold of it when they process..Will not use anymore.....
 

sylindr

New member
Nov 29, 2007
509
18
0
just had my number taken while in the dr and then they racked up 3000 in charges in Japan. my card company caught it and reversed everything. I only used the card at Tropical in Puerto Plata so had to have happened there!!
 
May 12, 2005
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Funny you mention this. I had someone get a hold of my credit card number and used it in florida as well. The only place I used that Visa was at the one of car rental companies at STI back in late May. All of the charges were made the following week. So I imagine that this may be related.
 

Bronxboy

Moderator - Covid19 & Mars Venus
Jul 11, 2007
14,110
590
113
Same hear!!!

Back in Feb, my # was used in a TGIF and Walmart in FLorida as well.

These places require an actual cc, so I think my cc was duplicated.

Funny thing is, I only used that cc online.

I was credited though.
 

Chip

Platinum
Jul 25, 2007
16,772
420
0
Santiago
Maybe we ought to make this one a sticky, this is good info.

Me and my buddy Charles will try to figure out if we used our credit card at the same place in Santiago. At this point we have both used them in La Sirena, El Nacional, Edenorte and Codetel. Also, I don't believe these businesses could be at fault mainly because they swipe the card right in front of you, and from what I understand the trick the theives use is they take your card out of sight and swipe it on a card reader or write down the number and code on the back.
 

Ezequiel

Bronze
Jun 4, 2008
1,798
80
48
If you have seem CNN report on credit card theft, you all will know that the theives don't need to write down the CC number, they just park their in front of the store with their laptop computer and everytime anybody make a purchase it gets recorded in their computer. CNN showed a demonstration they park in front a Home Depot and Target with a laptop computer (need the right program) and everytime somebody purchased anything with a Debit or Credit card, the CC number, name, address showed up in the computer.

Businesses can proctect themselves by buying a blocker, but it's Expensive.

My best guess, is that those cc thieves are not even Dominicans, because they need the technology and the money to get that technology to be able to steal cc#.
 

GALK

New member
Mar 12, 2006
116
0
0
As it was mentioned on this page, this is an inside crime.
Employees from VisaNet took all electronic info from the cards (article in ListinDiaro this weekend).
The Visacard I use here has been duplicated as well and used in Pakistan(tried to spend US$ 2500).
As I've never been there Visa got in touch with me and then cancelled the card.
They told me that all electronic datas have been on this clone, will get a new card.

If one uses a card there is no way to protect yourself against this type of crime.

GALK
 

Chris

Gold
Oct 21, 2002
7,951
28
0
www.caribbetech.com
If one uses a card there is no way to protect yourself against this type of crime.

GALK
Of course you can protect yourself against this type of crime. Firstly, let your credit card company know where you are. Tell them more or less what you are going to spend and where. Use a credit card only for certain transactions and not your everyday beer at the colmado. Some time ago I highlighted what I do against this type of fraud and theft and some folks suggested that it was too much of a pain in the 'you-know-what'. But, I have not had my cards used by thieves for many years, despite a lot of travelling.

Call your credit card company. Tell them .. for example .. today I am going to withdraw cash from my account and I'm going to make three other transactions at these stores ... name the stores. They will authorize the four transactions for the day and nothing more. No-one will be able to rip you off - unless there is wholesale criminal activity from those who put blocks and release blocks on your cards.
 
Aug 21, 2007
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I agree with Chris. I inform my bank of the dates I will be away, where I will be, my pattern of credit card use- whether I will just use it at ATM's or if I will also use it for credit purchases, etc. I always use the same ATM to withdraw money. And I monitor my balances daily. So far, so good here in the DR.

I cannot speak for other nationalities, but Americans are accustomed to using the card for everything. For casual American tourists, it is a hard transition to pay only by cash transactions. This is why they are vulnerable.

Lindsey
 

richardmci

New member
Dec 27, 2007
34
0
0
get local bank accounts and cards

Doesn't this situation argue for getting a local bank account and local debit cards? I understand from earlier postings in connection with Bank Leon, ScotiaBank, Banresrvas, etc, that you can get prepaid debit cards from local banks, and/or use a debit card associated with a peso account where you keep a low peso balance. Why would anyone spending serious time in DR be using credit or debit cards from a foreign bank where you keep your main accounts?

You would keep most of your dinero in a dollar account at a DR bank, and transfer to the peso account only as needed. You then ONLY use a debit/ ATM card associated with your peso account. You NEVER use a card associated with either your local dollar account, or worse, your main account in a foreign currency (e.g. USD) back in your home country.

So, if these card frauds do originate as an inside job (inside VISA or mastercard) that is targeted at extranjeros, then you're safe because you've gone local with your cards. And if a fraud happens to you as a local, then you have minimized your exposure and can replace the cards easily at the local issuing bank. Your foreign accounts, and all the automatic debits tied to it, have not been disrupted, and you don't need to be calling back to your home country for replacement cards.

comments?

richard
(newby trying to do his homework on DR1 ;) )
 

Gringo

Bronze
Jan 1, 2002
1,314
56
0
Yep, all to familiar, had my Identity stolen from MasterCard. Some Idiot had a field day in the capital, spent two days at police headquarters getting it straitened out. You can't begin to imagine the fun I went through clearing myself!
 

Adam Spenser

New member
Nov 29, 2002
81
2
0
US Embassy re Credit Card Fraud

I was speaking to a friend of mine in the DR tonight about this post. He wanted to know if the fraud only applied to US credit cards or DR credit cards as well. If also to DR credit cards he hadn't the vaguest idea how to track someone elses use other than phone the DR bank every day. My recollection is that for most banks you can set up an online view of your card transactions. Is my recollection correct?

Adam
 

Chip

Platinum
Jul 25, 2007
16,772
420
0
Santiago
Doesn't this situation argue for getting a local bank account and local debit cards? I understand from earlier postings in connection with Bank Leon, ScotiaBank, Banresrvas, etc, that you can get prepaid debit cards from local banks, and/or use a debit card associated with a peso account where you keep a low peso balance. Why would anyone spending serious time in DR be using credit or debit cards from a foreign bank where you keep your main accounts?

You would keep most of your dinero in a dollar account at a DR bank, and transfer to the peso account only as needed. You then ONLY use a debit/ ATM card associated with your peso account. You NEVER use a card associated with either your local dollar account, or worse, your main account in a foreign currency (e.g. USD) back in your home country.

So, if these card frauds do originate as an inside job (inside VISA or mastercard) that is targeted at extranjeros, then you're safe because you've gone local with your cards. And if a fraud happens to you as a local, then you have minimized your exposure and can replace the cards easily at the local issuing bank. Your foreign accounts, and all the automatic debits tied to it, have not been disrupted, and you don't need to be calling back to your home country for replacement cards.

comments?

richard
(newby trying to do his homework on DR1 ;) )
Suuuuurrrrre!!!, how do you get your money from your US bank accounts to your Dominican accounts when a wire transfer requires one to be present in the States - and obviously you can't because you live the DR. :)
 

richardmci

New member
Dec 27, 2007
34
0
0
wire transfer to DR

You can set up wires so you initiate them with just a telephone call from anywhere in the world by completing an authorization form with your bank (e.g. Wachovia)

You can also authorize someone in the US, even a friend, with a power of attorney for financial matters, by stopping in at your US bank and signing the forms together. They can then initiate the wire on your instruction via email or telephone.

richard
 

richardmci

New member
Dec 27, 2007
34
0
0
wire transfer by email from Citibank?

haven't checked but Citibank, which still maintains an office in SD presumably for institutional clients, after they sold off their retail banking recently, used to permit wire transfers via email (or from their website). Anybody know if Citi allows personal accounts in DR now?
 
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