Islamabad: Woman loses Rs450,000 to ‘fraud’
ISLAMABAD: A businesswoman in the capital city lost over Rs0.4 million to e-banking fraud. The management of the bank said they had instructed its foreign transaction department to investigate how the money went missing from the account, Dawn has learnt.SN, an accountholder of a bank branch at F-10, said she deposited Rs450,000 in her account on May 9. However, last week when she gave a cheque to a person he came back and informed her that there was no money in the account. “When I told the bank management that she had not made any withdrawal after depositing the amount, they said the money had been transferred through e-banking.” She was further informed that the e-banking service on her account had been activated through a cell phone call. But the bank confirmed that it was not the number which she had mentioned in the document while opening the account.
She said when she requested the bank manager to provide her the details about the person who had transferred the money or the account to which the transaction had been made through e-banking, he refused to give further details.
“Now I don’t know what to do as there is just one rupee left in my account. I have given cheques to a number of people but cannot deposit more money because it can also be taken away. On the other hand, the cheques will be dishonoured and it will spoil my reputation in the market,” she said.
A senior banker requesting not to be quoted said he had heard that sort of fraud abroad, especially in European countries, in which people used credit cards or e-banking passwords and transferred money to unknown accounts. However, he had never heard about such an incident in Pakistan, especially Islamabad.
He said though e-banking, ATM (auto teller machine) and credit cards had made one’s life very easy but these advanced technologies were not free of risk. If any person gets the card or password of e-banking, he can easily transfer the money to his account, he said.
“It becomes even difficult when people use those accounts and buy things, especially services, through the internet because the allegation cannot be proved against the fraudsters,” he said.
Senior Superintendent of Police (city circle) Mohammad Ilyas said he had never dealt with or heard of any banking fraud in which internet or e-banking had been used.
“We normally receive complaints regarding theft of cheque books and withdrawal or transfer of money from bank accounts. Usually, accountants or finance officers of companies do that as they have access to cheque books,” he said.
When contacted, the manager of the bank confirmed that money had been transferred from the account of a client but he said due to centralised system he did not have more details. He said he had requested the bank’s foreign transaction department in Karachi to check how it all happened.
“It is the first incident in my career and I will definitely sort the matter out in a couple of days,” he added.
Director State Bank Syed Waseemuddin said from time to time they issued guidelines to banks to take precautionary measures against such kinds of incidents. He said it was the responsibility of the bank to ensure safe transactions.
Director Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Inam Ghani said he had arrested a Gujranwala-based gang who used to send people abroad and took their accounts’ pin numbers on the pretext of giving it to the embassy concerned and later stole money. All such fraud cases come under the jurisdiction of the FIA, he said.