Monthly Archives: May 2015

Incidents Involving Taxis

alertSecurity Message to U.S. Citizens
May 21, 2015
Incidents Involving Taxis

Recently, the Embassy has been alerted by taxi riders that there have been reports of male taxi drivers committing crimes against female passengers. These crimes have ranged from indecent exposure to attempted sexual assaults.  In light of these incidents, U.S. Embassy Rangoon would like to suggest the following security measures:

  1. Avoid unmarked vehicles: Always use a registered taxi (you can often identify these by their red license plates).
  2. Do not share taxis with strangers: Never board a taxi with strangers or allow a taxi driver to pick up additional passengers.
  3. Sit behind the driver: Sit directly behind the driver to limit the physical proximity between you and the driver and make it more difficult for the driver to reach you. This also gives you easy access to both doors in case you need to exit the vehicle quickly.
  4. Take note of identifying information: Document the license plate or registration number located on the side of the doors prior to entering the vehicle. Not only will this prove to be extremely valuable in the event of an incident but may also deter the driver if he sees you taking note.
  5. Limit your travel alone: Try to limit how often you travel alone, especially at night or if you have been drinking.
  6. Trust your instincts: If something does not seem right, it probably is not. Take the first opportunity to exit the vehicle.

Burma continues to be a safe country to visit. The recent incidents are not typical.  However, practicing strong security habits will reduce the risk of such incidents occurring.

While there are no known specific threats against U.S. citizens, the Embassy advises U.S. citizens to take normal precautions to ensure your safety and security. When in public areas, stay alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you see something suspicious, report it to the authorities, if possible, and leave the area.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Burma enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment provides you with the latest security updates and enables the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in the event of an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Monitor the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution on State Department’s website. Read the Country Specific Information for Burma. For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist.”

Contact the U.S. Embassy for the latest information on travel restrictions.  You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  You can also follow us on Twitter andFacebook.

The U.S. Embassy in Rangoon is located at 110 University Avenue, Kamayut Township, and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.  The Embassy Telephone is (95)-(1)-536-509.  If you are trying to reach the Embassy after hours or during holidays, please dial:

Duty Officer Phone: (95)-(9)-51-24330 
24 Hour Embassy Phone: (95)-(1)-500-547

If calling the 24-Hour Embassy Telephone, explain that you want to speak to the Duty Officer or a Consular Officer.

Beware of ATM Fraud

U.S. citizens in Burma should be vigilant when using ATM machines to withdraw cash.  Several U.S. citizens have been double-charged or have detected unauthorized withdraws on their monthly statements.

Criminals use “skimmer” devices attached to ATM machines, hidden cameras, or wireless devices to capture information from a card or from the machine keypad.  These methods require the criminal to be in close proximity to the ATM machine.  Be wary of individuals who seem to be loitering or “hanging out” near ATM machines.  If an ATM machine has a suspicious looking attachment or a camera, report it immediately to the banking institution.

Closely monitor your banking information, check your account balances regularly and report any unauthorized withdraws immediately to your banking institutions.

ATM Fraud is not limited to travelers in Burma.  Please be cautious whereever you are.