President upholds ombudsman verdict in internet banking fraud case

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Islamabad

President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday rejected the representation of Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB) challenging the order of the Banking Mohtasib to credit the lost money to its account holder, who had fallen victim to internet banking fraud.

The President said the bank’s argument on declaring the unauthorised funds transfer as the customer’s liability for divulging his personal information to an unknown caller, is “not tenable”.

“The ‘strange and evasive stance of the MCB that this being a matter of internet fraud and the bank is not responsible for the loss of its customer’s money owing to compromised credentials by customer himself is just shrugging off bank’s fiduciary re-sponsibilities to an innocent account holder,” he wrote in his order.

The president, in his decision, pointed out that MCB failed to explain how an aggregate amount of Rs497,600 was transferred in a day from the complainant’s account against the default per day limit of Rs100,000 set on his Visa Debit Card.

“This is a serious gap where the system has allowed fund transfers beyond the assigned per day internet bank-ing limit on a transaction,” he said, adding had the internet banking system been properly functioning, it could have prevented transfer of funds.

A sum of Rs497,600 was transferred from the account of Shaukat Ali, a bank account holder with MCB Karachi, after he received multiple calls on his mobile phone on October 28, 2018, posing to be from the census department and the bank.

The unknown callers sought from Shaukat Ali (complainant) the details of his bank account, which he admittedly shared assuming the calls were from the bank.

For retrieval of his lost funds, he filed several complaints with the bank, however on finding no redressal of his grievance, he approached the Banking Mohtasib.

The finding of the Banking Mohtasib revealed that the complainant had never requested for the internet/mobile banking facility and also had no knowledge about its use.

However, on his request to enhance the limit of his Debit Card in 2016, the bank activated the said feature without his consent. TLTP

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