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March 23, 2012

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Fraudster only had to listen, court told

A WOMAN who said a thief cleaned out her bank account after listening to phone keypad tones has lost a claim against her bank.

The victim of the sting, surnamed Zhang, should bear responsibility for the loss of almost 200,000 yuan (US$31,738), the Pudong New Area People's Court said yesterday.

Zhang had accused the bank, which was not named, of having loopholes in its system.

She said she was defrauded by a conman calling himself Wu, a business partner her husband met on the Internet in 2009.

The court heard that Zhang's husband, surnamed Wang, planned to buy goods from Wu in 2009, and Wu asked Zhang to apply for a "card-to-card direct transferring" banking service.

This binds two bank accounts together so one account can only transfer money to the other.

Transactions can take place over the telephone, which Wu claimed would make business more convenient.

As a safety measure, Zhang set a daily limit at 50,000 yuan for online banking transactions.

Wu asked Wang to transfer 1 yuan into his account by telephone as a test, insisting on listening in to the transaction.

Using two phones, Wang called the bank and Wu simultaneously and made the transaction through an automated banking system, inputting his account details and password.

The next day, Wang deposited 200,000 yuan into his wife's account.

Another test transfer was conducted but the same evening more than 199,900 yuan in Zhang's account was transferred into Wu's account without her knowledge.

Police told Zhang that Wu probably recorded the test transactions and obtained the account details by listening to different keypad tones.

Zhang claimed the bank's card-to-card direct transferring service was not well designed and was to blame, as she had already set a daily transaction limit.

The bank said the daily transfer limit only applied to online banking transactions, and the court ruled in its favor.


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