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Barcelona - Bank Scam

Banking Scam!

If selling anything in Barcelona, people are making use of the very flawed banking system whereby whatever amount you input on a lodgement comes up as pending in the receivers account (so you could lodge an empty envelope, input 500 as the amount, and it will remain as pending in the receivers account till the banks check the next day). People are mostly using this when buying phones from people not aware of how the bank lodgements work. So they check their account, see an amount pending, and give the phone away on this basis.


Posted by
3517 posts

We call that a "deposit". ;-)

I think a more familiar term would be "ledger balance" which is what a bank shows as the temporary pending balance on an account before end of day balancing is done producing the "posted balance". The ledger balance cannot be drawn against in US banks without special arrangements with your bank (i.e. you are a business with more than that on deposit somewhere within the bank).

So you go and make an ATM deposit at one of the ATMs still requiring an envelope. You punch in $1,000,000 and the machine accepts your deposit and gives you a receipt for that amount. If you check your balance online, many banks will show that amount in the balance provided as a pending transaction. Of course when the bank pulls the envelopes from the ATM and verify your actual deposit amount for $1.00, you only get credited that amount and the next morning your available balance will show the corrected amount.

Posted by
5697 posts

Interesting ... But probably not many of us are selling our travel stuff on the street, which sounds like the danger situation.

Posted by
5326 posts

As an aside, "lodgement" is the standard banking term used in Ireland for "deposit" - eg this Bank of Ireland page for "External Lodgement ATM locations".

Why the term is used only by Irish banks and not anywhere else is no doubt a point lost in history.

Posted by
380 posts

Does it count as a scam if the people involved are just stupid?

I can't imagine a situation where I'd be selling anything to anyone while on a trip, and even if I were, It would be a cash transaction. What you're describing seems like you'd allow someone to make a deposit to your account that is later proven to be invalid.

Honestly half these travel 'scams' are just "people who are hopelessly stupid/naive/not understanding how street hustle works."

People, street performers expect you to pay them. No petition you can sign on a street in Barcelona or Paris is real, and you wouldn't need to pay to sign anyway. Nobody is going to find something of value and offer to share it with you in a valid situation. There is no such thing as a free gift. Close your pockets and bags.

Posted by
9 posts

It was my buddies gf (a local) who was selling a phone online. She met 'the buyer' thinking he would pay cash there and then, then he tried to pull a fast one. He didn't get to scam her. Just said I'd post for anyone potentially finding themselves in a similar position.


Posted by
4684 posts

This isn't just a Spanish situation, the same thing happens in most countries if you pay in a dodgy cheque or banker's draft - the amount will show up as a deposit for a while until the cheque fails to clear.

Posted by
23238 posts

I could see the problem occurring with electronic transfers also. And why would this be considered a banking scam? The bank is not doing anything improper. If there is a major point here, I am missing it.