Unauthorised Internet transactions rife in Malaysia despite banks' assurance

Unauthorised Internet transactions rife in Malaysia despite banks' assurance

PETALING JAYA - Many consumers are questioning the assurance banks give on Internet security after discovering that their credit and debit cards have been used in unauthorised online transactions.

Salasiah Razak was shocked to find that more than her whole month's salary had "disappeared" when she went to the ATM on Oct 2.

"A flurry of transactions using my debit card were made on Sept 29 and 30, but according to bank officials, many purchases of between RM4 (S$1.55) and RM200 had been made since August.

"The bank estimated that I've lost a total of RM5,000, possibly to young gamers making online software purchases," she said, adding that after her card was replaced, a RM400 transaction was made.

She has lodged a police report and is waiting for the bank to conclude its investigations.

"I hope I get my money back. I don't want a debit card anymore," she said.

In just eight minutes, N. Reena received six SMSes from her bank informing her that more than RM2,000 was charged to her credit card on the PayPal payment platform on Oct 4.

"The messages started coming in at 1.20am with a US$1 PayPal transaction.

"I don't know what the payment was for as the only description was the word 'Modernismau'.

"The last time I used PayPal was when I was in the United Kingdom in May," she said.

She then received an SMS at 2.18am informing her that the credit card had been suspended due to suspected fraudulent transaction, but there was another SMS at 2.20am indicating a RM510.65 transaction. The bank has assured her that she would not have to pay for the transactions.

"I was asked to fill out a form which they have yet to send to me," she said.

Reena, who usually uses ipay88, vowed to only use online payment platforms if absolutely necessary.

Janice Oh too was a victim when on Sept 28, her credit card was blocked by a foreign bank after a suspected fraudulent payment of £53 (RM277) was made.

The Financial Mediation Bureau registered three cases involving unauthorised online credit card transactions recently.

Its spokesman said one complainant had disputed 14 online transactions but denied losing her credit card.

"Upon investigation, the bank concluded that the transactions were performed on a secured website and a valid OTP (one-time password) was sent to the complainant's mobile number.

"At the enquiry, the complainant admitted that the mobile number, which was registered with the bank, belongs to her.

"The online transactions were performed by the complainant's son without her knowledge as evidenced by the log-on user ID.

"She finally agreed to settle the disputed amount in full," he said, adding that the amounts involved could not be revealed for privacy reasons.

National Consumer Complaints Centre legal and dispute resolution manager Santhosh Kannan said disputed credit card use online was common.

"We also hear many cases of money being deducted from bank accounts and credit cards used for unauthorised transactions," he said.

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