Gulf Law at Gulf News 29 September 2015


Identity theft victim warns UAE public

A ‘declined’ credit card application was allegedly used to get a quick cash loan by fraudster

Published: 19:00 September 29, 2015Gulf News

Dubai: A Filipina who said she was a victim of identity theft is warning people against handing over personal documents to agents outside the bank premises without making necessary checks on their identity.

Sharjah resident Kristie Gatan, 38, said she got the shock of her life on September 13 after learning that there is an active FGB (earlier First Gulf Bank) credit card on her name with an outstanding ‘quick cash’ loan of Dh10,130.

Gatan, a banker of 14 years who works in another UAE bank, said she never knew the card existed, much less have the card with her.

She found out about the alleged fraudulent card when she applied for a loan from the bank where she is working. A credit report issued by the Etihad Credit Bureau said she had an existing loan with FGB using a credit card. Automatically, her loan application with her own bank was declined due to an “undeclared liability outside office”.

Gatan said she traced the fraudulent FGB transaction to a failed application for a credit card in July. She and her sister applied for a credit card with FGB but, due to insufficient documents, her application was denied.

“I gave my passport and Emirates ID copy, three month bank statements and application form to an agent outside the bank. I wasn’t able to give my salary slip. That, the bank agent Ahmad said, was the reason why the application was declined,” Gatan told Gulf News.

But the application in fact was pushed through without her knowledge, Gatan said. A loan amount was secured through the card by a third party and was transferred to another person’s account.

When contacted, a spokesperson from FGB said: “FGB’s fraud unit has been in contact with Ms Gatan and the bank is currently investigating the matter. Further updates will be provided once our investigation is complete.”

Fortunately for Gatan, she was able to trace where the money was transferred using that person’s IBAN number. But she could not disclose the details as per their bank’s protocol. She lodged a police complaint at Muraqqabat police station last week.

“I went to FGB itself and asked them to show me the quick cash application form. My signature was forged. My mobile number and all the other details were incorrect,” Gatan said.

She added: “My number one suspect is the agent who took my documents. This is an inside job.”

Gatan said due to this mess, she has been off work for many days, going from one bank branch to the next, to the police station and typing centre, just to clear her name.

“I haven’t been able to sleep well. I can’t keep calm even though I know I am not at fault. At the end of the day, the transaction was made using my name,” Gatan said. “I have to protect myself.”

Attorney Barney Almazar, a licensed UAE legal consultant and partner at Gulf Law, said the burden of proof falls on the bank.

Almazar said to avoid getting into this kind of situation, residents should only apply for loans or credit cards within the bank premises and avoid making transactions outside bank premises.


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