x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Banks should take responsibility for credit card fraud

I have been trying to get information about internet banking from Standard Chartered Bank for several months, but with no success.

I have been trying to get information about internet banking from Standard Chartered Bank for several months, but with no success. Since early September I have been waiting for a password, which was supposed to be sent to my PO Box. I chased this up on October 12, and was told that it had been sent on September 23. I chased again several more times, but by November 8 it had still not arrived, although I had been given a user name by telephone. Without a password it was of no use, though. On November 8 I was told the issue had been registered as a complaint, and I would have the requested password within seven to 10 days. But it never arrived. Can you please do something to help me? I don't seem to be getting anywhere.

JK Dubai
JK's problem was forwarded to media relations at Standard Chartered, and an investigation took place. A spokesperson has now advised: "The customer, JK, had phoned in to request a password to gain access to our online banking portal. The password was subsequently dispatched, however, and unfortunately, this was not received by JK. After examination, it was revealed the bank had two addresses for JK on record - both his old and new postal address and the secure password were being dispatched to his old address. After investigation, the password and relevant information was then forwarded on to JK by courier. We have looked at and rectified our systems to ensure a similar incident cannot be repeated."

It appears that Standard Chartered did not update their records properly with JK's correct address. JK has confirmed that he has now received the relevant details. He wrote to say: "There is a total disconnect between different sections at SCB and some problems, but having said that, this complaint has now been resolved to my satisfaction."
My friend and I each have a credit card from the Royal bank of Scotland (RBS) and we both work at the American Hospital in Dubai. In June/July we separately booked flights on flydubai to go to Jordan together from July 22 to the 26. We also made reservations for hotels through two different websites. On the night of July 25, I was contacted in Jordan by the RBS asking me if I had made an online transaction for over Dh7,000. I told them that I had not, and they said they would block my card. The next day my friend received a call from RBS asking if she had made some online transactions. She answered no, and they also blocked her card. It transpires that both cards had been used fraudulently to make payments to Abu Dhabi police and Etisalat. My card had been debited for varying amounts all paid to Abu Dhabi police, and my friend's card had been used to pay Abu Dhabi police and Etisalat more than Dh11,000. In respect to my card, the payment of more than Dh7000 still went through with a further Dh10,700 being paid out after the card was allegedly blocked. Since then we have each filled out dispute forms and submitted them to the bank. The bank told us initially that the fraudulent amounts would be frozen and no penalties incurred until after the investigation. However, they are now asking for large minimum payments and are expecting us to pay off the balance before the investigation is completed. The bank appears to think that we will be responsible for paying these huge sums. My friend went to the Dubai Police to report this as a crime and they too say that we will probably end up having to pay it. We are both very distressed over this matter and we are in desperate need of someone who can assist us in ensuring that this case is investigated properly, and we are not found responsible. NM Dubai

The problem was passed to RBC, and after investigating the matter they have advised as follows: "Thank you for allowing us time to process the complaint. We are pleased to inform you that we have been able to resolve this dispute within the established timeline of dispute resolution. We have successfully been able to recover the entire disputed amount for both customers. This amount had been credited to their accounts, their credit cards have been replaced and new card numbers have been issued to them. Kindly be advised that customers are always responsible to keep their credit card details secure. As in cases of internet fraud, this information has been used by a third party having access to the card details." Both ladies used their credit cards on accredited internet sites, so I do not feel that they can be held responsible for the problems that arose. There appears to be a relatively high incidence of internet banking fraud in the UAE, and the banks must take some responsibility for the problems.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Write to her at:keren@holbornassets.com
Letters can also be sent to onyourside@thenational.ae