Attempted $5k theft in JW- what next?

Old Aug 6, 19, 12:08 pm
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Attempted $5k theft in JW- what next?

Last week my girlfriend and I were visiting Rio De Janeiro and were staying in the JW Marriott on Copacabana beach. While we were out to dinner one night, my girlfriend got a call and email from her credit card company indicating that a $5k+ charge was being attempted through a credit card she had left in a pants pocket back in our room. The card chip was used and thus the card was physically present for the transaction (so we know it occurred in the room and not as a result of the # being stolen previously). She was luckily able to decline the charge.

We returned to the hotel and informed them what happened and showed them documentation that the card was physically used during that time. They told us they would “investigate” and would send someone to investigate the door locks to see who had entered the room during that time. We told them we didn’t want to press charges as we were leaving the country to return home the following day, but that we’d very much appreciate their follow up. That was the last we have heard from their team. We checked out Friday and have received zero communication from the hotel or anyone on their staff. Now, I understand that we should have put anything valuable in to the safe (she had forgotten the credit card was there) and there were no actual damages, but should we not have received (at minimum)greater communication from a 4/5 star hotel when most likely one of their employees tried to steal $5k from us!? We are both platinum elite and have never run in to any sort of trouble like this and have never even so much has left a bad review despite a number of crappy things happening during travel, but this seems like a bit much.

Am am I being unreasonable to expect greater communication and if not, what should my next steps be?

Thanks all for the help.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 12:21 pm
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This is rightfully a police matter who you should call immediately.

There's unlikely to be much that their in-house security could do, though I'd have hoped at least for a close of the loop with you. Ultimately I think this one is best notched up as a lesson now that you've left.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 12:22 pm
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You'll receive a range of responses on this, ranging from suggesting that you rain down fire and brimstone against the hotel to stating that this was, at the end of the day, a fairly painless way to learn a key life lesson. Take from them what you will.

Edit: Already got the first interesting response, suggesting that the OP call the local Brazilian police. Lol.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 12:31 pm
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1) was the card actually gone?

2) while this is definitely a violation and a crime, I wouldn't frame it as the employee trying to steal $5k from you, since you're not liable for the charges.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 12:36 pm
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Originally Posted by WillBarrett_68 View Post
1) was the card actually gone?

2) while this is definitely a violation and a crime, I wouldn't frame it as the employee trying to steal $5k from you, since you're not liable for the charges.
Really?

So if someone broke into your residence but left without taken anything, you consider nothing has really happened because you have not lost any valuable?

What do you think the thief is trying to do, by attempting to charge $5000 out of the card of the guest? If this is not a stealing despite eventually failed due to the US bank's security alert, what else you can classify this crime which you do admit it is a crime?

Very strange logic or no logic at all that this is not a stealing from whoever who entered the room without any authorization.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 12:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Happy View Post
Really?

So if someone broke into your residence but left without taken anything, you consider nothing has really happened because you have not lost any valuable?
Please re-read my post.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 12:40 pm
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Originally Posted by arlflyer View Post
You'll receive a range of responses on this, ranging from suggesting that you rain down fire and brimstone against the hotel to stating that this was, at the end of the day, a fairly painless way to learn a key life lesson. Take from them what you will.

Edit: Already got the first interesting response, suggesting that the OP call the local Brazilian police. Lol.
Agree. This is a very low cost of an important life lesson learned. If the OP has not dealt with the hotel management to get whatever "resolution" they want, then it is end of the story.

The suggestion about calling local police probably coming from someone who has no idea how corrupt the Brazilian government is.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 12:43 pm
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Originally Posted by Happy View Post
Really?
As it’s not detailed in the OP, IMO it’s pertinent to ask whether, on their return to the hotel having been notified that the credit card (which the OP knew was in a specific garment pocket back in the room) had been used, whether the OP checked to see if the card had indeed been taken, or moved.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 12:58 pm
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The card was where she left it, but the credit card company confirmed that the chip was present for the attempted transaction.

My guess is that it was used through a mobile payment processor.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 1:00 pm
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Also, regardless of what happened, I am most upset by the total lack of communication on this. We don’t even get an email saying “we investigated but could not come to a conclusion on what happened”? I’d almost certainly drop it at that point....but no, nothing at all.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 1:47 pm
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Originally Posted by WMTribe84 View Post
Also, regardless of what happened, I am most upset by the total lack of communication on this. We don’t even get an email saying “we investigated but could not come to a conclusion on what happened”? I’d almost certainly drop it at that point....but no, nothing at all.
Who did you communicate with at the hotel, front desk staff, on shift manager? In general at high end hotels even the local Residence//Sheraton the GM usually has been pretty good, YMMV.

Lucky it was CC, always a difficult decision do you leave things like passport, camera, laptop around in a locked high end hotel room or the safe, even the safe should be assumed to be accessible by hotel with their remote unlock capability.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 2:14 pm
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It’s possible that since you said you didn’t plan to press charges they figured why bother investigating.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 2:28 pm
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If you believe you have been the victim of a crime the thing you do is call the police. When the OP "told them they didn't want to press charges" all leverage was gone. Hotels are not police authorities and there are limits to what they can do. Even if they show someone going in the room that probably wouldn't be enough to "fire" the employee, they would have to tie that to the use of the card and when you took the police out of the equation you tied everyone's hands.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 2:37 pm
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Originally Posted by WMTribe84 View Post
Am am I being unreasonable to expect greater communication ...?
Yes. 1) You said that you didn't want to press charges. 2) You didn't use the safe provided for that purpose. 3) You suffered no loss. 4) You neither notified the police, nor asked hotel to do that for you.

Seems to me that at that point, it's an internal matter for the hotel to deal with.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 2:44 pm
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FWIW, it didn't necessarily happen in the hotel room. RFID chips in CC can be read by scanners that are in close proximity to the CC (few feet away) and the info cloned to a blank card and used nefariously elsewhere. Do you and your GF have
RFID blocking sleeves RFID blocking sleeves
for your CCs and Passports? If so, then it most likely (read on for my own experience with this) happened in your hotel room. If not, then it probably did not happen in the hotel room. I use these, and as much as I try to protect them, one was still stolen and a card cloned. I get text messages anytime more than $5 is charged to my card.

I gave my CC to a restaurant server in Vail, CO and while she was running my CC a text message came in as it usually does, which I always check but it wasn't the restaurant's charge, but instead a charge from an Apple Store in Florida for over $1000, another 30 seconds a second text message came in for the restaurant charge. I called Visa immediately and reported the fraudulent Apple Store charge and the valid restaurant charge. They did tell me that it was a point of sale charge with the card, so I know it was cloned and they confirmed that was the case since I had the card on me. Other than that, I don't know what happened as the CC fraud people never tell you, but hopefully they caught it before the person got out of the Apple store. Card was closed and I was not liable for the fraudulent Apple Store charge.

Brazil is one of the worst places in the world for Credit and Debit Card fraud. I've been there a half dozen times and it, along with Mozambique, are the two countries I will not use my ATM card. I exchange USD for local currency and only pay for the hotel with my CC. I also lock up my wallet, passport, and travel folio along with my laptop when leaving the hotel room no matter where I travel. When traveling internationally I do not use my regular wallet, but instead I use a business card holder with cash, passport card, photo copies of passport, and in the case of other countries a Credit or ATM card, whichever is actually needed while I'm out. AND, I carry it in my front pocket. Having traveled the world for over 50 years I've been very lucky and not been successfully pick pocketed (encountered a few failed attempts), YET.

Good luck on finding out what happened, but the CC fraud people won't tell you anything, and I doubt the hotel will find out anything either. Enjoy the rest of your travels.
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Last edited by aaupgrade; Aug 6, 19 at 2:52 pm
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