UAE banks step up security after card theft

Lloyds TSB, HSBC, Citibank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Dubai Bank hit by fraud.

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By  Lin Noueihed Published  September 12, 2008

Banks in the United Arab Emirates have introduced new security measures and warned customers to change debit and credit card codes after fraudsters used counterfeit cards to withdraw money from accounts.

"Following a countrywide increase in card fraud, Lloyds TSB Middle East, as part of a coordinated approach with other banks in the UAE, strongly recommends that all of our customers urgently change the pin numbers of their debit cards," the bank said in a statement on Thursday.

Lloyds TSB, HSBC, Citibank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Dubai Bank are among lenders that have sent statements warning customers of the threat in recent days after a spree of fraudulent withdrawals both inside and outside of the UAE.

Some of the banks have promised to reimburse customers who have lost money while others have resorted to blocking customer transactions in some overseas locations to limit the problem.

It was not clear how much money had been stolen from UAE account-holders, but Dubai Bank said it had temporarily blocked international use of its automated teller machines after 42 of its customers were affected.

"National Bank of Abu Dhabi utilises sophisticated fraud monitoring techniques and was able to quickly detect the attacks and take urgent action to limit the problem," Saif Al-Shehhi, senior general manager of NBAD's domestic banking division, said in a statement.

"We had to block certain transactions from overseas locations ... It must be stressed that no customer will be out of pocket as a result of this incident and NBAD will fully refund any customers accounts affected by this attack." (Reuters)

3927 days ago
Khaled Ghorab

Actually, Harry, even though NBAD uses the 2-factor authentication, these attacks still affected the customers. I highly doubt it has anything to do with uneducated users in this particular matter. However, I will say that it is quite a disappointment that all this has happened and yet the banks are, until this very moment, unable to tell the amount of money that has been stolen from all those accounts. Perhaps it is time for these banks to wake up and smell the coffee, right? I strongly recommend that the banks take extreme security measures this time.

3929 days ago
Harry Barracuda

Our faith in the banks is weak until they explain how this can happen. As someone who knows a modified ATM and a phishing email when I see it, why should I be inconvenienced? Are banks just responding in knee jerk fashion to the activities of a few uneducated users? If it's that much of an issue, then give customers two-factor authentication devices such as Cryptocard or RSA, then these hackers and skimmers won't be able to draw cash!

3931 days ago
Patrick Gitau-CFE

Let's share this experience in the Global Financial Sector. We cannot afford to be hit region after region.

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