Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
..victim urges government to step in
By Lisa Hamilton
Yet another person has come forward to the media after noticing some $270,000 missing from his Republic Bank account owed to online purchases he did not make. Facing the issue is freelance journalist attached to the Kaieteur News, Samuel Whyte.
In an interview with the Village Voice News on Thursday evening, Whyte detailed the occasion on which he noticed that money was missing from his account and the great distress it has caused him.
“I went to the Bank to do some withdrawal and to my surprise, the amount of money that I expected to see there when I collected the receipt was far less. So, I requested another receipt again and the same thing showed up,” he said.
Whyte went into the Bank immediately and following discussions with representatives during which he explained that he had not made the online purchases, he was told that an investigation would be conducted and could take up to three months.
Based on documents seen by this news entity, several of the transactions took place on May 6 and 7, 2021. One transaction from Luxury Microfiber in the United States (US) showed a deduction of GY $2,496. However, this was one of the cheapest transactions as several others for Printify Inc. Claymont US showed transactions as high as GY $32,226.94; GY $48,204.16 and GY $42,738.90.
Added to this, his account shows that some GY $108,000 is in transit or on hold while merchant fees for the online purchases were deducted several times.
Whyte, who suffers from medical conditions in relation to his eyes, back and stomach, said that the loss of his money has affected him greatly and he believes that Republic Bank and the Government ought to be taking the matter of VISA fraud more seriously.
“Most of the money is not mine and then I have some serious medical conditions which are ‘hambugging’ me from working,” he explained.
“Even if I get back the money I think they should give me some interest because I would be losing and I wouldn’t have had that money at my disposal…I think they [the Bank] should be penalized. I don’t think Republic Bank is taking it seriously…I think the Government should step in.”
Though, as a journalist, Whyte has heard of Republic Bank’s issue with visa fraud, he never imagined that he would become a target because he doesn’t often keep large sums of money in his account.
He now cautions other persons banking with Republic Bank, especially those with large sums, to make checks to their account for suspicious activity. “A lot of people might be losing money and they don’t know,” he warned
Only about a week ago, the Village Voice News reported that journalist at the Department of Public Information (DPI), Kellon Rover, had noted some $200,000 missing from his Republic Bank account owed to visa fraud.
In his case, there were 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.
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.