Bankers go on high alert for holidays

The slug of Christmas money coming into the economy has the nation’s bankers on edge. The Asociación Bancaria Costarricense and law enforcement Thursday announced plans to prevent some crimes.

They have a big job.  The bankers said that there are robberies outside of banks and at automatic tellers as well as frauds with checks, fake dollars and fake lottery tickets.

The Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas y Censos puts the nation’s work force at  1,563,000 persons, and that means some 724 billion colons will be paid out in the next two weeks as the Christmas aguinaldo. That’s about $1.3 billion.

Many Costa Ricans still shop with cash instead of credit or debit cards.

So until Jan. 31, bank security officers and law enforcement officers will be mounting extra patrols and keeping a close eye on potential trouble spots, the bankers said in an announcement.

There will be security officers in plain clothes, too, with the special job of spotting accomplices who may be watching for bank customers with large amounts of cash.

One reason many banks prohibit the use of cell phones within their buildings is to prevent this. The accomplice notifies bandits waiting nearby.

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