Media: The Independent
E-paper Link: Accounts of two StanChart clients ‘hacked’
Two clients of the Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) have alleged that their bank accounts were “hacked” and money transferred without their consent and knowledge.
The Independent got in touch with Bitopi Das Chowdhury, head of corporate affairs of the SCB in Bangladesh. She said there was no security breach in the SCB’s online banking system.
“Our banking security system is foolproof and there was no breach in it”, she replied when asked about the two cases of alleged hacking.
Chowdhury said as soon as they learnt about the incidents, they conducted an internal investigation. “Because of the client-bank confidentiality agreement, I cannot tell you about the findings of our investigation, but I can assure you that there was no incident of hacking of our security system”.
She said that for Internet banking, banks require personal information of clients. If a client divulges that information to a third party wittingly or unwittingly, then that person can easily make transactions on behalf of the client.
“It’s like giving your ATM card’s pin to a third party and if that party draws money without your consent, then the bank has nothing to do with it”, she said. Personal information related to remote banking should not be shared with anyone because it can be used to authorise banking transactions through I-Banking (online banking), ATM or call centres, she added.
She also told The Independent that after the two incidents, the bank sent SMS to all its clients to create awareness about the issue. The SMS was: “Dear Client, please do not share your account related information or debit card details with any unauthorised person. Thank You”.
As per the claims of the two clients, money was transferred between October 14 and 15. The two lodged complaints with banks about the missing funds. The bank authorities did not take steps, they added.
Sunanda Dey, one of the two clients whose account was hacked, has an account at the SCB’s CDA Avenue branch in Chittagong. In her complaint, she said there was about Tk 4,11,000 in her account at the time of her last transaction. Out of that amount, about Tk 3,90,000 was transferred, of which she was completely unaware.
The Independent found that on October 15 Tk 3,00,000 was transferred through IBANKINGTF18635956601 from Sunanda’s account to one Ashif Rahman Jane’s account (No. 18119484101). The same day, Jane withdrew the money through cheque No. 005556690.
Md Nurul Alam, another client, has an account at the bank’s Station Road Branch, Chittagong. He lodged a complaint with the SC Bank and Bangladesh Bank that Tk 2,00,000 was transferred from his account through IBANKING. He was unaware of the transaction.
As per his complaint, it was found that Tk 2,00,000 was transferred to the same Ashif Rahman Jane’s account through IBANKINGTF1812467301 on October 15. Jane withdrew Tk 1,90,000 through cheque No. 005556089 on the same day.
“I did not receive any eTAC code for the funds transfer. I fail to understand how the money could be transferred from my account. When I came to know about it, I called up the helpline number of the bank. Officials contacted me, but the problem is yet to be solved”, he said
In both cases, the clients said they were “fully unaware” of the transaction, as they did not receive any eTAC code for funds transfer. In every IBANKING transaction of the SCB, clients receive an eTAC code through SMS in their respective mobile numbers. In these two cases, there was no such SMS in their numbers which are stored in the bank’s database against their account information.
Interestingly, The Independent found that the SIMs (both from Grameenphone which were given against their bank accounts) of both the account holders were blocked on the two days when the transactions were made. Both Sunanda and Nurul Amin had to collect new SIMs after the incident.
Ashif Rahman Jane, the recipient of the money tranferred illegally, is a civil engineer by profession (mentioned in the bank account). He has given his address to the SCB as Ahead Logistic Pvt Ltd, House No. 28, Road No. 08, Block E, Niketon, Gulshan, Dhaka.
When contacted on the mobile number given in the bank account, Jane told The Independent: “My business partners Mehedi, Hridoy and Ador told me that some of their partners sent the money for them in my account. So, I withdrew the money and gave it to them. I am not involved in any kind of hacking.”
Talking with The Independent, SM Shafiqual Amin, branch manager, CDA Avenue Branch, said: “We have received a complaint from Sunanda Dey that money was transferred from her account. We have transferred the complaint to our departments concerned. Nurul Alam also came to me. I told him to submit a written complaint.” Md Shahid Haque, Station Road branch manager of the SCB, declined to comment on the issue.