June 11, 2009

Bank customers threaten litigation over missing fund

A flurry of cases on “mysterious” disappearance of funds   from bank accounts will soon be in the courts as bank customers insist on refunds for monies that were released by the banks without their authorisation NAN has reported
According to NAN’s report Bank customers have been complaining of unauthorised huge draw downs on their accounts in the last one year.

The banks alleged that they must have exposed their Personal Identity Numbers (PIN) to fraudsters, knowingly or unknowingly.

Mondi Azanor, a public servant, said he lost N101,500 in an account with the United Bank for Africa (UBA) in 2008.  Azanor said the statement of accounts from the bank indicated that he made a purchase online and paid money to a website, He said he had never made online payments and had never disclosed his PIN to anyone.

“It happened on April 22, 2008 and until now the bank has refused to refund my money so I am going to court,” he said.

Azanor said the N101,500 was withdrawn in two instalments, noting that it exceeded the banks regulation that stipulated that only N100,000 could be withdrawn from the ATM in a day. |

A contract staff of the Intercontinental Bank Plc told NAN that her April salary was removed from her account the very day it was paid in. The staffer, who pleaded anonymity, said he lost more than N70,000, including some allowances for attracting deposits to the bank. Some of the customers said they got the “rude shock from SMS alerts from the banks”.

Mrs Josepine Ajudua, a business woman, said she lost N498,000 in an account with the First Bank Plc. According to her, the money was removed in one day, against the regulation of the ATM that only N100,000 could be withdrawn in a day.

Ajudua said she had no money to go to court and she was relying on God for divine intervention. Efforts to reach the spokesman of the First Bank Plc, Mrs Celine Loader, proved difficult. A staff in the Public Affairs department of the bank said the bank had been inundated with calls and complaints of missing funds through ATM, saying that the bank would not compensate any customer.

The staff said the customers must have exposed their PINs. The spokesman of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Mr Emeka Anaeto, said the complaints of missing funds had been going round all the banks. He said the banks would not refund money to customers because they had been warned not to disclose their PINs whatsoever.

Anaeto told NAN that there had been issues of “cloning” of ATM cards in the industry, and the banks had started upgrading their systems and offering a new card called “verves cards” to customers.

Unlike the first generation ATM cards, Anaeto said the “verve cards had “chips” that protect the customers accounts.“Somebody has to visit the ATM before deductions can be made and each of the ATMs has a machine so we have photographs of all  transactions,” he said.

Anaeto urged all bank customers using the ATM cards to migrate to the “verve card”, which has high security features that could not be cloned. He urged customers not to respond to scam mails that requested for their PINs.