Fans lose things, get robbed amid exuberance

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Fans lose things, get robbed amid exuberance
Costa Rica soccer fans pose for a selfie before watching their team's World Cup round of 16 match against Greece on a live telecast inside the FIFA Fan Fest area on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, June 29, 2014. Costa Rica won a penalty shootout 5-3 after the match ended 1-1 following extra time. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 28: People gather and watch a live broadcast in Copacabana of the 2014 FIFA World cup match between Brazil and Chile on June 28, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Host country Brazil advanced to the quarterfinals. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Costa Rica soccer fans celebrate their team's victory at the World Cup round of 16 match against Greece as they watch the game on a live telecast inside the FIFA Fan Fest area on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, June 29, 2014. Costa Rica won a penalty shootout 5-3 after the match ended 1-1 following extra time. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
Colombia fans cheer before a live broadcast of the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Colombia and Uruguay at the FIFA Fan Fest, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, June 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
Brazil soccer fans celebrate after their team scored a penalty shot against Chile as they watch the World Cup round of 16 match on TV outside the Vai Vai Samba school in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, June 28, 2014. Brazil won 3-2 on penalties. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
Brazil soccer fans dance in the street after their team defeated Chile at a World Cup round of 16 match in the FIFA Fan Fest area of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, June 28, 2014. Brazil won the match 3-2 on penalties after the match ended 1-1. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
Nikki Madeira cheers as the United States blocks a shot as she watches a World Cup soccer match between the United States and Germany, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
United States fans react while watching the 2014 World Cup soccer match between the United States and Germany at a public viewing party, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in Philadelphia. Germany defeated the United States 1-0 to win Group G ahead of the Americans, who also advanced to the knockout stage of the World Cup despite losing. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Mexican soccer fan Estela Rodriguez watches the telecast of the 2014 World Cup Brazil between Brazil vs Mexico in Huntington Park, Calif., on Tuesday, June 17, 2014. Brazil failed to beat Mexico for the first time at a World Cup, held to a 0-0 draw in Fortaleza Tuesday in their second game in Group A. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
US fans sit in the stands prior to the group G World Cup soccer match between the USA and Germany at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, Thursday, June 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
ATHENS, GREECE - JUNE 30: Greek fans react to play in the Greece and Costa Rica World Cup match on June 30, 2014 in Athens ,Greece. Costa Rica will play in its first ever quarterfinal match after defeating Greece in a penalty shootout. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 29: Fans watch the Round of 16 match between Mexico and the Netherlands at FIFA Fan Fest on June 29, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images)
RECIFE, BRAZIL - JUNE 29: A Brazilian supporter smiles during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Costa Rica and Greece at Arena Pernambuco on June 29, 2014 in Recife, Brazil. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 29: Fans watch the Round of 16 football match between Mexico and the Netherlands at FIFA Fan Fest on June 29, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Friedemann Vogel - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 29: A Mexican fan celebrates after Giovani dos Santos of Mexico scores during the Round of 16 match of the 2014 World Cup between Netherlands and Mexico at the Estadio Castelao on June 29, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 29: A Mexico fan poses prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Mexico at Estadio Castelao on June 29, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. (Photo by Lars Baron - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 28: Brazilians gather on Copacabana Beach after their shootout win over Chile on June 28, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Host country Brazil advances to the quarter-finals. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 28: Supporters dressed as Superman and Batman celebrate at the stadium arena during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at Maracana on June 28, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
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By JORGE SAINZ AND STEPHEN WADE

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Distracted by the World Cup atmosphere, American fan Jack Smith slipped his card into an ATM in a Rio airport.

He believes the card was cloned in an instant and, over several days before he discovered it, his account was debited for $12,000, a loss he said his bank would cover.

"I've probably met 60 people here, and 20 have been hit," said Smith, of Knoxville, Tennessee. "Of course these were for smaller amounts, although somebody told me they were out $6,000. But I'm scared. I won't ever use an ATM machine here."

It happened a few days ago, so Smith now laughs about it.

"Maybe this is a Brazilian tax of some kind I have to pay."

Crime in Rio de Janeiro was on the rise in the months leading up to the World Cup with muggings in the famous Copacabana area rising 60 percent. Official statistics won't be out for months, but the United States embassy, among others, warned its citizens before the World Cup about robberies on city buses, in banks and at cash machines.

Brazil has 15 of the world's most dangerous 50 cities on a list compiled by the Mexico-based Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice. Rio state governor Luiz Fernando Pezao has characterized Rio's crime fight as "a war."

"At these big events, everyone comes prepared - the criminals too," said Jennifer McGowan, a spokeswoman for credit card company, Visa, in Sao Paulo.

The World Cup has been breathtaking on the field, but taxing off it with exhausted fans traveling across a country larger than the continental United States. Stories are easy to come by of people losing things, being robbed, and getting blinded by their exuberance.

Of course, there are many more football tourists for thieves to prey on.

Chile's consulate in Rio says it issued 81 emergency travel documents in the first week of the World Cup, almost 10 times more than it issued in the same period a year ago.

Chilean Christian Alvarez said he was robbed of $1,700 at gunpoint by a gang outside his hotel that apparently followed him after he withdrew cash from ATM machine. He was hoping to buy tickets on the street, which is illegal in Brazil.

"It was a shock," Alvarez said at the Chilean consulate. "The consulate couldn't give me money back, but I was able to contact my family."

Another Chilean, Fabian Morales, lost his passport as he celebrated Chile's 2-0 victory over defending World Cup champion Spain at Rio's Maracana stadium.

"Between the euphoria and the lack of sleep, I'm not very clear what happened," Morales said.

The problems have kept consulates busy, scrambling to replace lost passports and control the damage.

Yolanda Parra, who is coordinating World Cup activities for the United States embassy's consular service in the capital Brasilia, said officials could replace a passport in 24 hours in an emergency. Then she backed off.

"To set that level of expectation for someone who lost their passport in the Amazon River. Well, it's not fair to us," she said.

The U.S. embassy estimates 80,000-90,000 Americans have come to Brazil for the World Cup. Embassy figures suggest that may be 10 times more than usual for this time of the year.

"We've seen an uptick in lost passports, but given the number of visitors we have it's a really small percentage," said Parra, who explained that consular crews had been working at all 12 World Cup venues.

"But there's still a couple more weeks to go," she added.

Carlos Eduardo Lopez of the United States-Mexico border city of Mexicali arrived at the local Mexican consulate, fearing his credit card had been cloned.

"I hope it's nothing," he said. "People are losing passports, visas. There are lots of robberies."

Mexico and Argentina have dispatched mobile consular units to cities where their teams play.

About 80,000 Argentines attended the country's last group match in the southern city of Porto Alegre, and as many are expected Tuesday in Sao Paulo for a second round match against Switzerland.

Gabriel Herrera, who heads the embassy's legal and consular section, said one request trumped the rest as fans passed Argentina's parked blue and white van.

"People have been walking by asking for tickets, which we don't have," he said.

German Tobias Mueller was warned before arriving in Rio to be wary of cash machines and to watch his credit card.

"I was told to be as careful as I would be in Germany," he said. "Actually, I was told be at least twice as careful."

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