I am writing to seek your assistance about the money that I have lost (due to fraud) from my bank account under First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB). My debit card was used by unknown individual in Belgium on December 2, 2021, under the merchant name Radio Service Seraing. I have lost Dh19,105.69.
I did not authorise the transaction but FAB keeps on rejecting my appeal to return the money back to my account. After I received the SMS notification, in less than a minute, I immediately notified FAB’s customer service (through telephone) to cancel the above transaction and block my debit card. I informed FAB that I did not authorise such transaction and I can only suspect that my account has been compromised for unknown reason.
FAB blocked my debit card, but after four days FAB still released the money to the merchant, as FAB said that such transaction has an authorised One Time Passcode (OTP). I was so devastated to know about this, given the fact that I have immediately informed FAB about this fraud, they should have not released the payment to the merchant. I have submitted a complaint to FAB.
On December 13, I received an e-mail from FAB stating that my complaint was rejected because it has an OTP. I did not receive an OTP for the transactions but I did receive a number of OTP that day, which I did not share with anyone.
According to FAB, my debit card has been linked to a Samsung Pay, which the hacker used to enable the transactions. I can confirm that I did not authorise anyone to link my debit card to a Samsung Pay.
On April 20, 2022, FAB representative called me to confirm that my complaint is still rejected. He said that, even if this is a fraud transaction, FAB is not responsible to return the money because they cannot get it back from the merchant.
This reasoning is indeed unacceptable. My bank account is under the care and custody of FAB, but when a fraud happened in my account they are not responsible? I am really exhausted and desperate to get my money back but FAB keeps on rejecting my claim.
I am seeking Gulf News’s assistance to get my money back.
From Mr Jeffrey Makalintal
The management of FAB responds: It appears that the customer was unfortunately the victim of a type of scam called OTP compromise. At FAB, protecting our customers against fraud is a key priority and our customers can find information about staying safe and secure available on our website, social media platforms, and via text/email notifications. The bank has advised the customer to contact the relevant authorities to investigate and resolve this matter.
Mr Makalintal responds: Thank you Gulf News for assisting me on this. FAB’s response to Gulf News is the same response I get from them through numerous calls over the past six months. FAB implied that it is not their responsibility and obligation to return my money because there was an OTP. Again, I never authorised it and did not share any OTP with anyone. I gave FAB a call immediately after I received the SMS of the unauthorised transactions in Belgium and expected FAB to do something about it on the spot. If FAB could not stop the fraud transactions at the moment I called them, who else can?
Thanks to Dubai Police for investigating my case. Following investigation, they provided me a police report confirming I was in Jumeirah Beach Dubai and my debit cards are with me when the unauthorised transactions happened in Belgium. I submitted it to FAB and their response was, “There was OTP!”
As per latest communication with FAB, I was advised to go back to Dubai Police station again to file a case to catch whoever hacked my account. If the hacker gets caught, I might have chance to get my money back.
It was my hard-earned money gone in a heartbeat. The financial institution I trusted my money with don’t even care to do something to help me apart from arguing about the presence of OTP to move away from their responsibilities. What has FAB done to help me? I have family with children. I work hard for them and this money is for them. I appeal to any experts and lawyers who can help me.
Editor’s note: The follow up letter was forwarded to FAB for further comments. However, FAB states there is no further response to this case.
(Process initiation: May 26. Response from organisation: June 8. Process completion: June 29.)