Last week, Scott’s atm card was compromised. Whenever we plan to withdraw money, he slides an amount over to the atm account, and we promptly go to shore and withdraw it. On the 4th, we headed to town to find our usual atm out of order, and the only other atm out of cash. We went back to the boat and returned to try again on the 6th. Our usual atm was still out of service, so we went inside to see if they could help us with cash.
The line was hours long, and we settled in for a sweaty wait. Thankfully, someone soon ushered us past the line and to a teller window, where we were told that we needed a Bank of Bogata card for them to help us. I guess we stood out as people not having Bank of Boata cards. I’m ok with that, and grateful that someone noticed us. In the U.S., we would have waited hours to find this out.
We walked back down to the second atm, which was still out of cash. Again, we headed inside. The line inside was short, which was disappointing, as this bank was nicely air conditioned and I’d have happily waited there for hours. Almost immediately, an employee came over and asked us, “atm?” Wow, we definitely don’t blend.
Back outside, there were several others waiting to use the machine. The woman filled the atm, as she explained that with the other machine being down, this one had been constantly running out of cash. With the machine full we waited our turn, only to find the balance at zero….you can imagine Scott’s reaction. We went back inside, so that he could yell at them, and then decided to head back to the boat to confirm that the account was in fact empty.
Once onboard, Scott logged on to find out that the money we’d transferred on the 4th had been withdrawn on the 5th. He planned to go complain strongly to the bank, believing that it had happened at that location (we’ve used the other machine consistently with no trouble). Our friend, Kevin (s/v Lucky Seven) convinced him to call the bank, that the withdrawal could very well have been done in another location, city, country, etc.
The phone minutes on our sim card were very low, so Scott tried calling the bank through Skype. This proved maddening, as the call was dropped over and over, causing Scott to start all over each time he redialed. He managed to find out that the withdrawal was in fact made in Melbourne, Fl. Somewhere along the way, someone got our atm card number, and waited until some cash sat there long enough to get it. We’re kicking ourselves for not moving the money back to the original account, when we were unable to withdraw on the 4th.
So now, the card has been cancelled, and a new one is being sent to the U.S. That does us no good here! We’re leery to have it sent on to Providencia, as the address we were told to use is:
Mr. Bush (the customs agent), Scott McGonigle, Yacht in transit Sea Life, Providencia, Colombia.
We’re not sure Fed Ex would like that address, so our plan is to wait until we finally arrive in Bocas del Toro, where we’ll be for a few months, and have it shipped there. In the meantime, we were left peso-less, so Kevin graciously agreed to have Scott transfer money to him, and then pull it out of the atm for us…whew!
The amount in question was only a few hundred dollars, but for us it meant weeks of spending money, so it was frustrating and stressful. We’re sure that the bank will reimburse us, and I’ve told Scott to prepare for this to happen again. It seems that cruisers deal with this problem constantly.
So, we’re back to being millionaires!….in Colombian pesos anyway.
“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”