Tuesday, June 12, 2007

My ATM card got cloned at main RBTT bank in St. Georges! Happens often down here!

June 11, 2007  Monday

The pool party at the resort yesterday afternoon was fun; a welcome nice change of pace for all of us in attendance who are more accustomed to beaches than swimming pools.  Don’t know how Ed and Linda lucked into such a sweet gig of dog sitting at a luxury resort and free use of all the resort facilities for a month.  Also worked out quite advantageously for them, as they decided to have their boat hauled out for the annual bottom job here in Grenada while they are staying in the resort.  How nice for them.

Bill volunteered to help with dock lines for ALLEULIA! when they hauled out early this morning.  It is much easier when there are 3 people aboard --- one to drive the boat and one to handle the port dock lines and one to handle the starboard dock lines.  The third person isn’t necessary because one person can handle all 4 dock lines by running back and forth across the boat, but having a third person certainly does make the process easier and faster.  Again, Gary on ELLUSIVE acted as wingman in his dinghy, just in case a gust of wind might throw the boat around as she is entering the slipway between those high concrete sides.  None of us likes putting our boat in between 2 high walls of concrete.

Now we are off to do the FedEx & Customs dance; the paperwork was delivered to the boatyard this morning.  Next on the agenda for today is to find a bank that can sell us some US cash.  We will need US dollars while we are in Venezuela.  As those who read our logs from last October know, it is unwise to use a credit card or an ATM card anywhere in VZ.  So we need to replenish our supply of US cash while here in Grenada.  Hopefully there is still some US cash left in the banks from the last cruise ship that visited St. George’s.  If we are unable to find US cash, then our provisioning in VZ won’t take very long! 

While we are downtown I want to shop for gifts/trade items for the Kuna natives in the San Blas Islands.  So far all we have found are a few packages of crayons and one package of construction paper to give the little kids.  Saw a package of watercolors in the mall last week priced about $8 USD and a package of 6 balloons priced about $10 USD, but we refused to pay those exorbitant prices.  Also want to find sewing needles for the Kuna women and fishing hooks for the men.  I already have a nice selection of reading glasses to give them, thanks to the 99 cent store in Houston.  But, knowing us, we will get downtown today and get really hot and decide to just forget about doing anything except what is absolutely necessary right now.

June 12, 2007  Tuesday

This morning Bill went back into town to get more EC cash at the ATM and exchange it for US dollars.  And my ATM card wouldn’t work; got a message to call our bank.  Bill came back to the boat so we could call the bank.  This is when we learned that my debit card had been cloned yesterday.  Within 5 minutes of our using the card at the ATM at the main downtown location of the RBTT bank, my card had been cloned and used an another RBTT ATM machine at the downtown bus terminal.  Five minutes later it was used at another RBTT branch ATM in St. George’s.  About 10 minutes after that transaction, the cloned card (or another cloned card) was used for a $655 purchase at a Target store in San Diego, California.  Then the card was attempted to be used for 3 more purchases in San Diego, but our bank had already put a hold on the card.  They must have a good computer program for fraud detection because the bank had stopped my card within 25 minutes of us making the last legitimate transaction.  Talk about fast reaction time!

Now the paperwork hassles will begin.  Getting the 2 fraudulent ATM withdrawals reimbursed won’t be a problem because each ATM transaction is video recorded and it is obviously not us making those 2 transactions.  Our bank said the money will be deposited back into our account no later than tomorrow.  But we will have to file a claim regarding the purchase at Target in San Diego.  The bank cannot email us the claim form; it must be mailed to our address in Houston.  So for now we must wait in Grenada for that claim form to be received in Houston; then we will have to figure out a way to get it to us here in Grenada.  We are hoping that either Trey or Kristina has the capability at their jobs to scan this form and email it to us.  Otherwise, we will have to pay and wait for another FedEx international shipment.  Either way, we need to take care of this matter before leaving Grenada because we can’t do anything about it once we reach Venezuela.  My new replacement ATM card is also being mailed to our address in Houston, but we don’t need that immediately.  We can wait and have that FedEx’d to Bonaire.  

We planned to stay in Grenada until the weather improves anyway, so this isn’t too great an inconvenience.  And we will take the opportunity to do an island tour and a turtle watch tour.  There are worse places to be stuck for a week or two.  At least in Grenada there are things to do.

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