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September 04, 2009


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Very interesting stuff. Do you know anything about the numbers of more sophisticated kidnappings-for-ransom in the US?

Not easy to use or interpret, but here are the FBI figures on missing persons. I think kidnappings are listed at the very bottom, but I'm not sure. I'm a bit brain-fried at the moment, and have a very long night ahead.

Do US/LatAm banks impose a daily withdrawal limit, regardless of funds, on cards? European ones do (if memory serves, mine works up to £300 a day); this obviously restricts the upside of an express kidnapping. Of course, you might have multiple accounts and credit cards as well.

In the U.S., most banks impose exactly such a limit, usually either $300 or $400. In theory, the same limits should apply in Mexico. In practice, they don't. I have on multiple occasions withdraw significantly more than $400 from the same account, as long as I use ATMs from different banks.

I don't know if this is a feature or a bug. Given how bad law enforcement is, a strict limit would give an incentive to hold people at least overnight, and possibly longer, which the government probably does not want.

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