In the early morning hours of Monday, a young lawyer in the city lost ₹40,000 in four back-to-back allegedly unauthorised withdrawals of ₹10,000 each from his account with a scheduled commercial bank.
Just over an hour later, another youngster with a food aggregator met with a similar fate when ₹2,600 of his hard-earned money was withdrawn without his knowledge from his account with another branch of the same bank in the city.
Both youngsters reported the alleged fraud immediately with their respective branches and simultaneously lodged petitions with the Central police. “I was charged ₹23 as charges for using the ATM of another bank, which proved that the withdrawal was made through an ATM. Since I reported the fraud immediately, I should be reimbursed by the bank within 10 days without waiting for the insurance reimbursement,” said the aggrieved lawyer. The manager of the branch concerned said that the matter was with the head office, which had prima facie found the incident fraudulent. He said that it could be a case of card cloning but sought to absolve the bank of its responsibility, citing that the customer remained the custodian of the debit card.
K.S. Krishnan, joint secretary of the All India Bank Employees’ Association, clarified that as per a Reserve Bank of India circular of July 2017, the bank should credit the amount involved in the unauthorised electronic transaction to the customer’s account within 10 days where the customer has notified the bank about the fraud within 3 working days leaving her with zero liability.
Arun Prasad, another alleged victim, was told by the bank authorities that the amount was withdrawn from an ATM at Thrissur leaving just ₹3 in his account. “The bank officials told me that I might have carelessly used my debit card credentials online, which was not the case. Besides, online transactions are cleared subjected to OTP and in this case, it was withdrawn using my ATM card while it was all along with me,” he said.
The Central police are yet to register cases on the two petitions. “We can intervene only when the bank confirms it to be a fraud. The petitioners have received only alerts of the withdrawals but no external communication seeking OTP or such other details as is usually the case,” said A. Nizar, Inspector, Central police.