Account security

I read with interest Mashreq bank’s attempt to resolve a hacking case highlighted by Ms Aisha Ali Mohammad (Gulf News, August 31, 2011) that cost the customer Dh1,000. I encountered a similar problem of Dh2,000 being charged to four etisalat mobile numbers (Dh500 each) from my credit card.

Upon taking up the issue with the bank and filling in the necessary dispute claim forms, followed by follow-ups at regular intervals, I received, after about 45 days, a standard letter from the bank stating that the bank had studied my case and found that my valid Mashreq Online User ID and password were used in conducting the transactions and therefore the bank was not obliged to return the amount. They also mentioned the terms and conditions governing online transactions. I was very careful in not sharing with or disclosing to anyone my user ID and password and also in not responding to any spam emails, SMS, et cetera.

However, my credit card account was hacked and ultimately I lost Dh2,000.

I was not at all satisfied with the bank’s reply as I did not feel they had addressed my grievance seriously and thereby I stopped using the card. Two of my colleagues in office and one of my friends also faced the same problem — each losing Dh2,000 in similar fashion with four etisalat mobile phone numbers getting credit of Dh500. Their complaints also elicited a stock reply from the bank. I am sure the bank’s dispute claim section would have received many requests for reimbursement following hacked transactions. I thought of informing all credit card holders of the bank to take utmost care during online transactions as once the hacking takes place, one might as well consider that the money is lost.

From Mr Puthanmadathil Rajagopalan
Al Ain

The management of Mashreq responds:

We would like to thank Gulf News for sharing Mr Rajagopalan’s letter. Our investigation indicates that Dh2,000 was transferred from Mr Rajagopalan’s credit card on August 1, 2010 through Mashreq’s Online Banking Services, which was considered authenticated as the transactions were done by a valid log in ID and password.

Mr Rajagopalan reported these transactions as unauthorised, post transaction and we blocked his Online Banking access instantly.

As per the published MashreqOnline Banking terms, customers are responsible for the security of their user ID and password. If a customer shares his password with a third party, he stands responsible for the misuse of his account and the bank is not liable for any damages caused. Mashreq has been constantly alerting all its customers through various media channels to safeguard their personal banking information through SMS, MashreqOnline inbox and most prominently on the home page of our website.

We have contacted Mr Rajagopalan and shared with him the outcome of our investigation. We would like to thank Gulf News for seeking clarification.

Account closure issues

My previous company opened a savings bank account with Emirates NBD for me in 2003 to transfer my salary. Since I had not been using the account for a year, I requested that it be closed in July 2011. I was told that I would first need to activate the account in order to close it. I submitted an application to activate the account but I was required to pay Dh100 before I could close the account. I requested for the charge to be revoked and the account to be closed since I am operating a current account that is very much active with a reasonable balance. Emirates NBD rejected my request. I have seen Gulf News help so many people and I hope it could help me, too.

From Mr Shanto James

The management of Emirates NBD responds:

We are pleased to inform Gulf News that the department concerned contacted Mr James and resolved his complaint.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Gulf News and the customer for providing us with feedback and regret the inconvenience caused. Many thanks for Gulf News’ continuous support and valued efforts.

James responds:

Emirates NBD customer service assistant manager contacted me through phone and email. I was informed that I can go to the branch any time and close my account without any charges. Thank you very much for the support and help. Gulf News is doing a very good job. Keep it up.