UAE banks move as fraudsters strike

September 12th, 2008 - 3:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Sep 12 (IANS) Banks in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are taking a series of security and other measures following reports of fraudsters using counterfeit ATM cards to withdraw money from customer accounts.The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) has announced that it would fully refund any customer who was a victim of the fraudsters in the last three days, provided the customer proved that the account has been exposed.

“It must be stressed that no customer will be out of pocket as a result of this incident and NBAD will fully refund any customer accounts affected by this attack,” Saif Al Shehi, senior general manager of NBAD’s domestic banking division, said in a statement.

He said NBAD used sophisticated fraud monitoring techniques and was able to quickly detect the attacks and take urgent action to limit the problem.

“This includes the use of SMS alerts where customers are notified of any activities on their accounts, which has also assisted us in containing the problem,” he said.

Al Shehi said that the bank had to block certain transactions from overseas locations.

“This was unavoidable and we apologise to any customers inconvenienced in this way,” he said.

According to the state-run Emirates News Agency (WAM), the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has sent messages to its customers to change their PIN numbers immediately to ensure added security.

Dubai Bank, a Dubai Group company, announced that it has moved quickly to take action following the recent wave of counterfeit ATM card transactions from overseas.

The bank has temporarily blocked international usage of ATM cards as a precaution to prevent misuse and also advised customers to change their PIN numbers as an additional safety measure.

Head of Dubai Bank’s retail banking, Mohamed Amiri, said current data showed 42 percent of Dubai Bank’s customers were affected, and that the bank had acted to verify and refund claims immediately, with the refund process being completed shortly.

“We have communicated directly with our customers to advise them of necessary precautions, and we have already implemented a series of measures to protect customer accounts and minimise any potential threats,” Amiri said.

“This swift action comes as part of our ethical obligation towards our customers, and our identity as a bank that is committed to Islamic Shari’a in everything we do.”

In February this year, UAE’s central bank had warned that criminals installed a card skimming device and a video camera on at least one ATM in this Gulf nation.

The attack lasted Feb 19-25.

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