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ATM fraud up in Cancun, Playa del Carmen

Cancun, Q.R. – The Association of Hotels in the Riviera Maya are suggesting anyone using public ATMs be vigilant.

ATMs in tourist hot spots along the Cancun Hotel Zone as well as Playa del Carmen’s popular Fifth Avenue shopping strip have experienced reports of thefts after using public cash machines. There have been numerous reports by people who have used their cards then experienced fraudulent charges.

Manuel Paredes Mendoza, director of the hotel organization, said, “We as a group have recommended to hotel guests to be careful when using ATMs, especially the machines that are in the street away from bank offices. The federal police have given us these recommendations in workshops because this is a repeated complaint of tourists.”

This situation is not new to local authorities. After an investigation last year, it was revealed that card-cloning hardware had been installed in about 70 ATMs in tourist spots between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. In February, six automated teller machines located in varying parts of the Cancun Hotel Zone were shut down.

The Ministry of Ecology and Urban Development in coordination with the Municipality of Benito Juarez said that the companies responsible for the machines did not have any records or permits.  On those occasions, Novelo Rolando Melo, head of the Ministry of Ecology and Urban Development, sealed the machines.

While local authorities declined to provide statistical data, they did acknowledge that it is a recurring problem due to the more than five million tourists that visit the area each year. They say that people should reconsider using public ATM machines, especially machines that are more isolated or not connected to a bank.

US cyber crime researcher, Brian Krebs, who was part of the Cancun investigation last year said, “The best advice I can give to people who want to avoid these scammers is to always use ATMs inside banks or always use your credit card.”

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