Banks not obligated to repay when account is hacked due to neglect: UAE lawyer

Authorities have warned residents about a fake 'legal notification' that has been circulating on WhatsApp

A Man Using Smart Phone. Image used for illustrative purpose.

A Man Using Smart Phone. Image used for illustrative purpose.


UAE - Banks are not legally obliged to compensate or repay a customer who loses money and whose account is hacked due to his own fault or negligence, according to legal experts.

"In cases where negligence is proven on the part of the bank customer - regarding the disclosure of his/her account or credit/debit card details, which resulted in hacking into his/her account and withdrawal of money - the bank holds him/her responsible and consequently, the bank is not obliged to compensate the loss," Emirati lawyer Mohamed Saif Al Tamimi told Khaleej Times.

Al Tamimi made the comment while referring to phishing messages that are randomly sent via WhatsApp targeting credulous individuals.

Authorities have warned residents multiple times about a fake 'legal notification' that has been circulating on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.

The notification reads: "Sorry dear customer, your bank account (ATM, debit, credit cards) will freeze due to some security reasons. Verify your correct details. Otherwise, your account will be suspended permanently."

The message has a mobile number which people are urged to call within 24 hours.

"There are certain bank details the customer should not reveal to anyone, not even to the bank customer service employees. The bank employees do not ever ask about confidential details pertaining to the account or to the debit/credit card. They only ask for information necessary for identity checks (like the personal mobile number registered with the bank, the person's date of birth or mother's name)," the lawyer said.

He added that customers need to be advised that the bank would not compensate in incidents where it is proven that they were not careful enough to prevent any hacking into their e-mails or mobile phones where they store the bank account details or if they were the ones to disclose in person such confidential data."

Al Tamimi advised that it would be best just to block suspicious numbers rather than responding to incoming messages or calls. "Most of those numbers, through which suspicious activities are carried out, are operational from outside the UAE. It would be better just to block them and be alert."

People, who are caught doing or attempting such fraud schemes, would face both criminal and civil lawsuits, Al Tamimi pointed out.

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