Fraudster tries to withdraw money in the US with credit card in Bangladesh

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A fraudster or a professional hacker has tried to withdraw money in the US from a credit card when both the card and its owner are in Bangladesh.

A stunned Zahirul Hoque Mozumder, an associate professor in Dhaka University’s electrical and electronic engineering department, spoke to bdnews24.com about his ordeal on Sunday.

He said he received a message on his mobile phone about the withdrawal attempt against his National Bank Limited credit card in Houston on May 25 when he was in Bangladesh.

“Sorry sir, your NBL Dual Visa Card #4093**9799 has been declined for USD 0.56 on 25/05/2017, 07:54 PM at WIND DRIFT #7919593427 HOUSTON US due to unavoidable circumstances. Pls contact with us.” reads the message he received at 7:54pm on that day.

Mozumder said he has been using this dual-currency card for five years and made the last payment abroad with the card three years ago.

“Then what’s the meaning of this SMS?” he wondered.

He said he contacted the NBL’s call centre but failed to get any satisfactory answer.

“They later said they would change the card,” he said.

Mozumder said he wondered why they wanted to change the card before expiry.

“They then said similar incidents had happened to some more cards and that’s why they were changing it,” he said.

An official at NBL’s card division told bdnews24.com that ‘some cards of the bank had been hacked’.

He said ‘some other banks’ clients faced the same problem and such hacking incidents ‘often’ happen.

He claimed the customers had not been harmed in any of the reported incidents. “We replaced the hacked cards,” he said.

The official spoke to bdnews24.com on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media over the matter.

RAB arrested 11 suspected members of an international gang of ATM fraud in March. Special printers, various ATM cards, around 1,000 blank cards and six card-punching machines were seized from them.

RAB said the gang had collected PIN numbers after hacking international ATM cards. They had then sent the numbers to their accomplices in Bangladesh who withdrew money or bought things at large shopping centres.

In February last year, Bangladesh Bank launched an investigation when the news of stealing bank customers’ money by using their ATM cards surfaced.

The central bank said after the investigation that the fraudsters had withdrawn more than Tk 2 million after cloning 36 cards. The gang had cloned at least 1,200 cards.

Police later arrested a German citizen after reviewing CCTV camera footage of the ATM booths. Information given by him led to three bank officials and several others later being arrested.

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