15 November 2007

atm fraud. sweet.

("The story you're about to read is a fib, but it's short. The names are made up but the problems are real."...ok, this is actually happening to us, but I wanted to use that quote.)

Monday afternoon, I walked up to an ATM that I have probably used a dozen times. I put my card in and immediately the machine turns red and tells me that it is out of order.


I turn around and notice a rather sinister-looking character watching my every move.

Perfect, indeed.

I pressed every button on the machine, making sure to push the red one that said “Cancel” in Zulu about 400 times. Still, the machine keeps my card and the sinister-looking chap behind me continues looking ever more pleased.

So, I walk home as quickly as I can to get on the computer to tell our bank that our ATM card is probably being used to buy sinister Christmas presents for a sinister family. Naturally, the bank’s website is not functioning properly and it will not let me declare my card lost or cancel the silly thing. It directs me to a US 800-number, which is not particularly useful seeing as how I am not in the US and I don’t have access to a phone anyway. So I do the next best thing: send the bank a message asking them to please cancel my card ASAP.

Wednesday afternoon, Stef decides to check out accounts online…

And, wouldn’t you know it; a sinister -looking amount of money is missing from our account. About $1500 to be exact…

We are on the case, working with the bank and we are relatively confident that the fraud will be properly dealt with and we won’t be penalized. Still, watching 80% of your living expenses for the next 2 months disappear is not the most comforting feeling in the world.

Just another adventure in Africa.

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