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April 9, 2013

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Bank says it had no way to stop fraudulent charges on debit card

CHINA Merchants Bank said it did nothing wrong when a client's debit card was charged 17,000 British pounds (US$26,045) in the United Kingdom in a case being investigated as a bank card scam.

The customer, surnamed Ji, said the bank did nothing to stop five fraudulent transactions in England on March 31 though he called them before all of the transactions had been completed. Ji said in an online post that he and his card were in Shanghai at the time.

The bank claimed in a statement that four of the five transactions at Westlake Garages Richmond, a used car dealer in England, were authorized before Ji called them and the other one was authorized 1 minute and 50 seconds after Ji's call was put through, not leaving them enough time to stop any of the deals.

Bank officials said they are investigating the transactions and they also are cooperating with Shanghai police.

"It was not a credit card but a debit card, and it had never been used to shop but was only used for transfer," said a netizen surnamed Chen, who said she was Ji's girlfriend and posted on his account. "Should the client be responsible for the bank's safety loophole? We did everything we could but the money was still gone."

The accounts by Ji and Chen were reposted numerous times.

The incident happened around 7:23pm on March 31 when Ji's cell phone suddenly received a short message from the bank saying he had spent 2,500 pounds on his card, he said.

In the following two minutes, another three deals of 2,000, 5,000 and 5,000 pounds were made. Ji said he realized he might be a scam victim and called the bank at about 7:27pm but still failed to stop the last deal of 2,500 pounds from going through at 7:29pm.

What confounded Ji and Chen was watching the money being transferred to the merchant without being able to stop it, they said.

Ji said he believed the bank could have made efforts to stop his loss.

"All we wanted was for the amount of money to be frozen, but they didn't do that," Chen added. "We could do nothing but keep calling the customer service to check if the money was still there but it was still transferred last Tuesday in the end."

China Merchants Bank said Ji's transactions had been authorized and according to international bank card rules, they had to transfer the money.

"The transaction was authorized by the customer so the bank could not refuse the payment," the bank said in its statement. "There was no malfeasance on the part of CMB."

Chen said she and Ji are considering filing suit against the bank.


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