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Why Don’t people use their powers for good?


On a recent trip to Isla Mujeres, Mexico–My Happy Place–My Visa ATM debit card was “skimmed”. Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts….

Skimming is something I’ve heard of, though I thought it had something to do with fishing or gambling in Vegas or politicians trying to emulate Kevin Spacey on House of Cards. I honestly never paid much attention before, since Mexico is the only place that I ever use my ATM card for cash. I don’t even carry my debit card in my wallet at home. I use it in Mexico because the exchange rate is better when you get cash from the ATM; and, I’ve never had a problem before now.

ATM Skimming happens everywhere, not just in Mexico!


I usually only use my ATM card inside the HSBC bank branch lobby on the main drag in Isla, but this time I used a different ATM in the Chedraui grocery store because I was saving a buck in fees (about $1.50 US vs. $3.00). The specific ATM I used was the Banjercito ATM. The ATM’s in the Chedraui are much less obvious (than in the HSBC), not close to security and could likely be tampered with more easily, so I suspect this is where it happened.

I should point out that the Chedraui is a great store–and I do not hold the store or banks accountable for this problem. I did however send messages to all involved to let them know this happened. My hope is they will check the machine(s) for issues and skimming hardware. Though often times criminals only leave the devices on the machine for a short time and monitor them pretty closely so they don’t get caught.

Keep reading for tips on how to be aware of ATM skimmers!

Livin’ Large in Miami!

It’s a good thing I don’t keep a lot of money in this account and that ATM’s have a daily limit because someone was trying to live it up in Miami and go all Paris Hilton with my ATM card–Someone call Miami Vice!

How did I know? I got an automated call from Visa Fraud services yesterday, asking if I’d tried to use the ATM in Miami to make three sizable withdrawls…Uhm, NO!? Who is partying without me? SO RUDE!

The downside is that I had to sacrifice about 30 minutes, calling my bank, canceling my card, ordering a new one and now I’ll have to reset my pin which is a PITA (pain in the ass). BUT on the upside, Visa and my bank will credit back the charges in exchange for my Jane Hancock on a piece of paper that says, “It wasn’t me!” I swear! Not a high price to pay, and my Chuckie rep Matt was very helpful!

For the record my debit card is the type with the RFID chip that is supposed to prevent this from happening–Although RFID chips pose their own set of threats and have to be carried in a tinfoil sleeve or a special wallet to avoid them! None of these wallets for girls are super fashionable I might add.

Since others haven’t been so lucky, I’ve done the research to help you know what to look for so it doesn’t happen to you. You’re Welcome! 

For starters, keep a close eye on your bank account for at least a couple weeks after your vacations. Why? Because if the bank’s fraud warning bells hadn’t gone off I may not have noticed the theft until it was too late, and some banks charge you a fee (usually around $50) if the fraud isn’t reported in a timely manner. I’m just saying you may want to find out your bank’s rules AND keep one eye on your account while the other is on your cerveza!

Here’s another tip – don’t login to your bank on a public wifi unless your working through a private VPN. When you do, someone could be snatching that data while they sit right next to you and eat their burger and fries! Is nothing sacred? I swear someone would steal my underwear if they thought they could use them for currrency, just ask Piper!

I use Nord VPN when traveling to keep my data safe. It’s an easy to use private VPN tool. If you’re not a geek, ask one, they’ll tell you about it.

In my research I found that Commonwealth Bank Australia has the most comprehensive information and education in one place about skimming and how to spot it! Thank you Aussies! This video is a great tool plus the narrator has a sexy accent!

Commonwealth also has a written guide to help you know what to look out for when you go to the ATM. Kudos to Commonwealth bank for using THEIR powers for good and helping us to be aware of ATM skimmers.


I’ve talked to a few people who said this has happened to them in the US, Japan, Mexico, China and recently there was a big story about it happening right down the road here in Denver at Park Meadows Mall–If you’ve seen the guy, call the cops!

Because skimming doesn’t just happen in glorious tropical vacation destinations, let me revise my previous comments and say that you may want to keep an eye on your accounts OFTEN. Period. And while you’re at it, get a copy of your credit reports every year so you know the you’re the ONLY ONE pretending to be you every day! 😉 The State I live in says I get one free each year from each of the three major credit bureaus.

Be aware of ATM skimmers and don’t hide your head in the sand. If you have important information about skimming or your experiences, please share it in the comments section below!

PLEASE Click one of the little buttons above or below this post to SHARE this info on your social media pages! Since thieves don’t use their powers for good, you should!

Protect Yourself with an RFID Wallet!


Super foodie sidekick to #DrDP; digital storyteller, part time ginger and queen of convenience with more ideas than time. I go by #CC #CinfulCindy #CinfullySimple

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