By Ricky Skelton May 12, 2015 I was travelling in one of Brazils tourist towns a while ago and withdrawing stupid amounts of cash every day to cope with it all. Back in the Big City later, I couldnt get any money out. Naturally wondering if Id spent all my money (or the banks overdraught money if you want to split hairs), I didnt think too much more about it. Then Blondie returned from a bank trip to tell me a story about a couple warning her not to use a certain cash machine as it had some odd wires coming out of it. We discussed the disgrace that is the security measures of Brazils banking system and promised to keep an even closer eye on the machines we use, and check them properly for extraneous devices, which I always do anyway. Too late! The same day I called my bank back home to see if my card was blocked. Apparently not, but Id run it up to the limit with the last couple of days of withdrawals. Hang on – run that one by me again… I hadnt made any withdrawals the last couple of days, but they can sometimes delay in appearing. So she checked some amounts with me, making sure they were legit. Two hundred thousand from the… Whoa there cowgirl! Two hundred what? I nearly had heart attack imagining the unauthorised overdraught fees. How did I take out that much? I must have been drunk early that day… Still… 200k is a lot of reais. … in Santiago. Santiago is like Salvador, a place you have to check twice to see if it might be a Brazil one or another Latin American place. No, must be the one in Chile. I started sweating as she ran through the list of recent transactions, thankfully at the same time as Id been making withdrawals throughout the weekend. the card was still in my hand and hadnt left it except for withdrawals, some by Blondie – you dont suppose…? I didnt mention her to the bank, it might lead to awkward questions from someone who didnt trust my Brazilian lady as much as I do. So all those frighteningly high amounts were only good old Chilean pesos, and as Ive never been to Santiago, it was all quite easy to point them out, cancel yet another card, and wait five minutes for the money to be put back onto my account. Just a couple of forms to sign later to state the fraudulent activity for the police, and Im in the clear. Marvellous. Good luck finding the thieves, and even better luck in trying to get the Brazilian banks or police to provide any help with that or even acknowledge that they have a problem. We called the possible banks, the denied any responsibility. So as far as inevitably getting roubado in Brazil goes, having a card cloned is about as good as it gets for anybody with a gringo bank account. I can only imagine how much bureaucracy would be involved in the same situation with a Brazilian bank card. I imagine ten years of legwork for nothing to ever be refunded. The thought makes me shiver. I also have the feeling that as most of the card-cloning stories I hear from Brazil involve gringoes that there is definitely some huge scheme going on here, involving the banks and the staff of banks, a huge conspiracy to defraud us all of our dollars by some Brazilian jeitinho. So I was all happy with life that afternoon, thinking that while having something stolen in Brazil is very common, having it stolen with no violence necessary, all valuables safely returned, and nothing but a painful wait for the correio to deliver the new card. And even better – surely, statistically speaking, having been robbed means that your chances of being robbed again in the near future dwindle somewhat, so the cloning puts back the inevitable and far more ugly type of robbery to a later average date, no? This thought kept me amused for another couple of weeks, at least until I discovered that it had happened again with another gringo bank card. Im going at the rate of one every couple of months now… You can visit Ricky’s blog at http://redmist-redmist.blogspot.com/ Previous articles by Ricky: Understanding Brazil: Pizza Around Brazil: Porcaria de Janeiro Understanding Brazil: Holding Hands Understanding Brazil: Statues & Self-Worth Understanding Brazil: Mosquitoes Part II Understanding Brazil: The Pub Understanding Brazil: Protesting Understanding Brazil: General Elections Around Brazil: Oktoberfest Parade in Blumenau Cultural Brazil: The Alambique Around Brazil: Whale-Watching in Santa Catarina Brazil: Tainha Time Deported from Brazil? Part 2 Deported from Brazil? Part 1 Brazil: The President in Florianpolis Swine Flu in South America? The Best Club in Brazil…? The Great Brazilian Animal-Off (Land) Understanding Brazil: Giving Directions Understanding Brazil: Driving Understanding Brazil: Farra do Boi Brazil: Catching Flu’ Around Brazil: Garopaba Understanding Brazil: Funerals Brazil: Bernie the Berne Around Brazil: Journey to the Amazon Jungle Around Brazil: Crazy Town Ceremonies Around Brazil: Crazy Town Around Brazil: Manaus Around Brazil: Santarem & Alter do Chao Around Brazil: Amazon Swarms and Amazon Storms Understanding Brazil: Playing Pool Around Brazil: Gurup Around South America: Peninsula Valdes Around South America: Patagonia Around South America: Montevideo, Uruguay Around Brazil: The Amazon Around South America: Bariloche, Argentina Understanding Gringoes: Drinking The Great Brazilian Fruit-Off Part 2 The Great Brazilian Fruit-Off Part 1 Understanding Brazil: The Kids Brazil v Argentina: Buying Beer Understanding Brazil: Mosquitoes Around Brazil: So Luis Teaching English in Brazil Around Brazil: Lenois Maranhenses Understanding Brazil: The National Anthem Around Brazil: Barreirinhas Around Brazil: Jericoacoara to Barreirinhas Understanding Brazil: Shopping Centres Around Brazil: Jericoacoara Around Brazil: Chapada da Diamantina/Lenois Brazil vs. Argentina: Statues of Christ Around Brazil: Salvador Brazil vs. Argentina: The Buses Around Brazil: Morro de So Paulo (& Itabuna) Understanding Brazil: The Workmen Around Brazil: Praa Pateo do Colegio Around Brazil: Porto Seguro Around Brazil: Rio de Janeiro to Porto Seguro Around Brazil: Cristo Redentor Understanding Brazil: The Sellers Around Brazil: Ilha de Gigoia Brazil Journeys: So Paulo to Rio de Janeiro Understanding Brazil: Dogs Part 2 Brazil: A Lie-In in Downtown So Paulo? The Best Job in Brazil: Ankle Specialist? Understanding Brazil: Dogs Brazilian Places: Ilha do Santa Catarina (Floripa) Classic Brazilian Journeys: South to Florianopolis Understanding Brazil – The Shower Brazil: Boats on the Amazon Brazil: Understanding Novelas Brazil: Bus fires in So Paulo – always a bad thing?