ATM Advisory from U.S. Embassy in Guatemala

The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala is advising U.S. travelers to Guatemala to stop using their ATM cards in Antigua. Reportedly, criminals are using cloned numbers to withdraw funds from unsuspecting travelers. Please read the entire alert here, dated January 27, 2011. Below is an excerpt:

Dear American Citizen:

The following is a Warden Message concerning ATMs information. Please share the following information with any other Americans you know, as soon as possible. It should be disseminated as widely as possible within the American citizen community.

*** 

Over the past few weeks there have been numerous reports of criminals in Antigua using cloned Automatic Teller Machine cards to withdraw money from the bank accounts of unsuspecting travelers. Customers using ATMs have lost thousands of dollars — often the entire balance of their ATM bank accounts. All ATMs can be subject to these attacks. We are working with the Guatemalan authorities to solve this serious problem. In the meantime, the U.S. Embassy advises against the use of ATMs in Antigua, if at all possible. As an alternative, citizens can withdraw money using a major credit card at banks that deal in foreign exchange or at foreign exchange offices. U.S.citizens with a Guatemalan bank account can also cash checks at their local bank.

ATMs located inside a bank may offer a greater degree of security. For those staying in hotels, hotel management might be willing to provide cash and charge the foreign exchange transaction to the room bill. 

I learned of this alert on a Guatemalan listserve to which I belong, posted by Caroline Tiffin.

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4 Responses to “ATM Advisory from U.S. Embassy in Guatemala”

  1. BB says:

    I advise to NOT withdrawl from an ATM or at the ONLY bank in Antigua that tourists can withdrawl for cash advance. … BAC Bank. I am in Antigua now and my bank information was stolen from an employee at BAC. I was getting cash advances every week for 4 months. They took a copy of my passport and driver’s license each time. They had me write my address. I wrote the address that was on my driver’s lisence because it was infront of me, easy and convenient. I dd not give them the address I associated with the bank. An employee tried to make extravagant purchases on my card, however the purchases failed because they had the wrong address, hence, I gave them the wrong address. I am still going through this nightmare of having my accounts frozen and credit cards still not arrived here after 6 weeks. DO NOY use ATM’s or the bank in Antigua for any reason.

  2. Jessica says:

    BB: What a nightmare! I’m so sorry for the enormous headaches this creates. On our last visit, I was tempted to use the ATM because I hadn’t heard anything for a while. Thanks for letting us know that problems remain. Good luck sorting it out….

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