Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Scotiabank neglectful in credit card fraud probe

Published:Saturday | January 28, 2017 | 1:00 AM

DAVID CHANG

Kingston 8

I have a Gold Card from Scotiabank. I am just an ordinary customer, though my company had been dealing with the bank for more than 40 years with exceptional good standing.

On Tuesday, May 24, 2016, I checked online and noticed there were several entries totalling nearly $100,000 that I knew nothing of being charged to my account within the five-day period. Seven of the nine transactions were made at a Total gas station on Shortwood Road. I did not authorise anyone to use my card and had the card in my possession at all times when those bogus charges were made.

I called the bank's 24-hour line to complain. The lady said she would block the account and issue a new card and the bank would call me and tell me when I could pick up the new credit card.

The bank was closed, and at about 5:15 p.m. that same day, I realised $25,000 was charged that same afternoon. I went to the gas station to complain. The owner was not there, so I spoke with the supervisor on duty. On checking, she was told that when the card was tendered, two cars picked up gas and three more were supposed to come back to fill up the balance later.

As a caring and responsible citizen, believing that the bank would want to see these crimes stopped, as swift action from BNS would be able to bring to justice those responsible for the credit card fraud, I Immediately went to the Constant Spring Police Station and reported the matter. The police said they would send someone to the gas station immediately to await the culprits when they returned to fill up. I was told they went, but no one came back for more gas. And they checked again next morning and still no one showed up.

I was of the opinion that the gas station would be able to identify from their security cameras some of the perhaps more than 15 cars that came to fill up. That would have helped the police to cut down the credit card fraud. I signed a written report.

The next morning, Wednesday, May 25, I went to BNS Half-Way Tree and reported the matter. I signed a statement listing the charges I knew nothing of, and that I would attend court to give evidence if I was needed. Later, I found out there were actually more charges made at Total Shortwood, plus two others totalling about $150,000.

I was issued a new card that day and was told it would take about 45 days for the investigation. But when I checked the new account online, contrary to my understanding, the disputed charges were transferred to my new account. Waiting for my account to be rectified, I did not use the card anymore and only paid off the charges that were done by me. In September, the account was still in dispute and I received two renewal cards, but I did not activate them, as I began to feel something was very wrong.

 

INTEREST ACCUMULATING

 

During all this time, interest and penalties continued to accumulate on my account

The bank's collection department called me at my home several times. I called back and told them what happened and that they should check with the bank that sent them as I knew nothing of those charges and they were supposed to be investigating.

I returned their call on another occasion and repeated what I told them the first time. The gentlemen wanted to know where I worked, obviously with the intention to embarrass me at my workplace. At a later date, I could no longer access my account online, and when I enquired on the 24-hour service line, all I could hear was the same advice that "I should try and pay off the balance".

I wrote to the bank on October 5 (delivered by bearer), but got no response. I then emailed the bank manager again, but still no response. We spoke with another manager and forwarded all communications and document to him, but, to date, I am still in the dark and silence.

Now, in January 2017, a letter came from the adjuster of the bank's collection department threatening to take legal action in another three weeks. So far, I have denied the charges. My prompt action helped the bank to disallow the last $25,000 transaction. The bank has not even had the courtesy to acknowledge the receipt of my report and complaints. Am I not entitled to be advised of the result of the investigation and to a hearing and be shown those signature slips that were not signed by me?

From May to the end of 2016, that is now more than seven months! Am I also to be deprived of the cash-back bonus I would be entitled during the period? I should also be refunded the annual fee, as I could not, in good sense, benefit from the card under the suspicion.

I knew persons whose accounts were being compromised and their bank promptly credited them the amount disputed. I guess the bank would claim from the insurance and then pass on the premium increase to the public through whatever means. Perhaps my conscientious action had put the bank in an unusual dilemma and it is not willing to act to find those responsible for the crime.

Am I now to be punished for being a conscientious citizen?