ATM card fraud costs two bank clients Dh24,000

Two customers of a leading Indian public sector bank in the UAE have lost money through fraud and the victims are trying to get back their money.

Speaking to Emirates 24|7, Job Mathew, an Indian businessman in Sharjah, said almost the entire balance from his company’s bank account has been withdrawn by some unidentified person during the weekend and a bank statement on Saturday showed that Dh14,000 had been withdrawn, leaving a balance of just Dh294.

A senior official of Bank of Baroda confirmed that the management is aware of a few customer complaints of unauthorised withdrawals from their accounts with the bank.

“I was sitting in my Sharjah office on Thursday evening when I was surprised to get an SMS from the bank’s automated messaging system saying Dh5,002 had been withdrawn from my account. I was quite upset but could not contact the bank as there is no toll free number and the bank’s office was closed,” says  Job Mathew, who runs an electromechanical company in Sharjah.

“I got this message at 19.39 and there was another message of similar withdrawals. From the Dh2 extra charge, I realised that the money had been withdrawn from another bank’s ATM machine,” he said.

He said within two days (Thursday and Friday) the entire money from his account had vanished, and the current balance is only Dh 249. “When I got a bank statement on Saturday when the bank reopened, I could see many transactions of Dh1002 and Dh5002, altogether withdrawing Dh14,000 from my account.”

He said another customer also had lost money from his account through unauthorised withrawals during the weekend.
Nooruddin Ali, another customer with Bank of Baroda’s Sharjah branch, said he had also lost Dh10,000 on Thursday through unauthorised withdrawal from his company account.

“I lost Dh 10,000 from my account in the Bank of Baroda. Two transactions of Dh5002 each were made on Thursday evening and I got an alert on my mobile phone. I went to the bank and the Al Qusais police station to make a complaint. The bank should alert its customers about this fraud, because I met at least four other customers with the same complaint at the bank’s office and the police station.”

Ali, who runs a business, also tried to lodge a police complaint at the Al Qusais police station. “My complaint was not yet registered by the police because the bank has to complete some formalities about the transactions. I am in the dark about the Dh10,000 that I lost from my account,” he added.

Mathew said when he went to the bank to complain about the loss, there were other customers with the same complaint. “I have not withdrawn cash from the bank and I checked whether I had lost my ATM card. It was safe in my pocket,” he said, adding that a written complaint had been lodged.

“Regarding the ATM transactions from my company account, Muftah Al Shair Electro Mechanical Company, the account is showing three transactions on 07/06/2012 and one transaction on 08/06/2012. But the ATM card is with me and I did not use the card after May 29,” said the complaint letter lodged by the customer of Bank of Baroda’s Sharjah branch.

According to banking sources, claims of unathorised transactions have to be investigated and proved through the UAE Central Bank.

“I am told that the bank has informed the Central Bank to investigate the matter. I went to the Sharjah police station with a bank statement, but they sent me back to get details like the name of the bank through which the transactions were conducted. I am desperately contacting the bank to retrieve the money as the entire money from my account has been withdrawn,” he added.

A senior official of the Bank of Baroda said the bank is aware of the customer complaints and details are with the respective branches. “Customers have to give us a complaint and we will forward the complaint to the police. I cannot share all the details with the media, but an investigation has begun,” he said.

Image from Shutterstock

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