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…visa card shows over 150 online purchases he did not make
Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited (RBL) is once again in the spotlight with a young man, Kellon Rover alleging that over $200,000 has gone missing from his account owed to over 150 online purchases he did not make.
The bulk of the transactions took place on April 27 and 28, 2021 but, when Rover noticed the activity on April 30, 2021, there was also evidence of two additional transactions on April 12 and one on April 16.
The majority of the purchases were made from AliExpress London — an online retail service Rover hadn’t heard of until now. Other purchases were made from Walmart and West Seneca in the United States (US) and from Wishpond. Before the online transactions, Rover said that he hadn’t even scratched the CVV number behind his card.
The matter has since been reported to Republic Bank Guyana which has indicated that an investigation will be conducted, even as Rover is now under financial stress to make do until then.
“I went to about three ATMs and I realized that I’m not getting access to the money…that is when I went into the Bank,” Rover who is a communications officer at DPI detailed during an interview with the Village Voice News.
“I’ve never purchased anything. The day when we were questioning it, that is when I scratched the three-digit number at the back of the card. I never shopped online, that’s when I remembered that there is a three-digit number. Persons were telling me that if you want to shop online too you have to get permission…I’ve never done none of those.”
This is the first time that Rover has noticed money missing from his card. He also has not shared information about his card with any other person prior. When he made the complaint to the Bank, initially, he was told that he was the one who made the transactions. However, push back from Rover to explain that he did not, saw the Bank agreeing to an investigation in collaboration with Visa.
However, he was stumped when the Bank said that this process could take between 3 to 4 months. “I have to wait on them while I don’t even have access to my own money. How am I doing business? How am I eating? How am I even living?” he questioned.
The highest purchase from his account stands at over GYD $4,800 with all other purchases fluctuating below the amount.
“If I can put my money there and then when I go back for it I can’t get it, well then my money is not secure and I don’t think that the Bank is reliable as it relates to saving there,” Rover said.
Asked whether he believes that persons who face such fraud should be given some form of compensation apart from the return of their savings, Rover agreed. “Yes, for the stress. They should compensate me for the stress…while they’re saying that you’re going to get back the money and so on the stress and the fatigue that I have to go through as well as the time that I didn’t have money, it’s very fatiguing.”
Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited has already reimbursed customers millions as a result of fraudulent activity on its Visa International Debit Cards.
In 2019, it was noted by Governor of the Bank of Guyana, Dr. Gobind Ganga that Republic Bank has repaid over $5 million to over 50 customers who made visa card fraud claims. Additional cases were also being examined.
“…additional security measures have been put in place to reduce further impact, and as a result, some customers may experience interruptions in service levels.The Bank will continue to ensure that the most up-to-date security is available through all of its channels toward the financial safety of the banking public,” the Bank said in a statement that year.
In 2020, some 2,500 Guyanese signed a petition to compel the Bank of Guyana, the Ministry of Finance, Financial Intelligence Unit of Guyana (FIUG) and others to launch an investigation into Republic Bank’s business practices in Guyana.