Users hit by multiple unauthorised transactions hope banks will expedite refunds

Many are sharing their stories on social media to alert others to watch out for unauthorised transactions. — Image by Freepik

PETALING JAYA: An increasing number of users have been posting on social media that they have been hit by multiple unauthorised transactions, mostly from Facebook Ads, and are hoping that the banks will be able to expedite the refund process.

Masters student Salwati Baharudin from Mukah, Sarawak, said there were a total of 17 transactions between March 27 and 29.

"Altogether, I was charged RM218 for transactions marked as ‘FACEBK ADS’. I called the bank and was thankful because the operator guided me through the process of filling up a dispute form patiently," she said when contacted by LifestyleTech.

The incident has been stressing her out, as she had just gotten married and spent money on her wedding.

"As a newlywed, I hope that I don't have to go through this. As a precautionary measure, I’ve removed all my money from the affected account and transferred it to another bank," Salwati said, adding that she has filed a police report.

Engineer Nur Azyma Nasrun from Selangor said a series of 11 unauthorised transactions from March 27–28, labelled "FACEBK," wiped out about RM300 from her personal savings account.

"I got a notification saying there were insufficient funds when I was topping up the amount for a delivery, which surprised me. I checked my account and saw that I didn’t have much money left," she said.

Shocked, Nur Azyma contacted her bank to cancel her card.

"I thought I would receive notifications for any transactions related to my account, but I didn’t get any. I really hope the bank will be able to refund me. They told me that it would take them 14 to 60 days to investigate the matter.

"I do feel thankful that my salary was not in yet at the time, as I probably would have lost more money. As Hari Raya is coming up, I really don’t want to be out of money," she said.

Kuantan-based insurance agent Nurul Rasyidah Suliman found out about the unauthorised transactions in her bank account on March 23.

"I needed to transfer money and saw that there were a lot of red lines on my account indicating that funds were going out towards ‘SALE DEBIT FACEBK’. I called my bank to block the transactions," she said.

Despite informing the bank, the unauthorised transactions continued, resulting in a loss of RM300.

"I had no choice but to transfer all my funds into another account at a different bank. I hoped the bank could issue a refund soon, but I was told that it will take between 45 and 60 days to investigate the issue," she said.

Salwati was also told to wait up to 60 days for the investigation to be concluded.

"After I shared my story, a few people told me that they managed to get refunds in just two weeks. For now, I can only wait," she said.

Both Azyma and Salwati claimed to have never clicked on any suspicious links, downloaded any apps prior to the incident, or linked their cards to Facebook for purchasing ads.

However, Nurul Rasyidah remembers clicking on a link she received from a friend prior to the incident. The friend later informed her that she had been hacked.

This is not her first experience – last year, she successfully blocked an unauthorised transaction for RM1,600.

Business owner Min Salleh discovered that over RM4,000 had been transferred out of her account for a Facebook Ads payment on March 29.

"I set up a payment system for ads on Facebook, but when I checked, I found out that the transaction was not going towards my business account. I immediately filed a report on Facebook and received a call from a Meta Pro representative," said Min, who is based in Cyberjaya.

The representative ascertained that the payment was channelled to an account that was not linked to her business.

"However, he refused to share details about that account. He said he will contact me again regarding details about my complaint," Min said.

After doing more checks, she realised that the unauthorised transactions started in January 2022.

"I’ve lost over RM20,000. It’s a stressful time to lose money, especially when it’s close to Hari Raya. I’ve informed my bank and hope that it won’t take too long to process my report. In the meantime, I will be filing a police report," she said.

Min said it’s common for users to link their cards on social media platforms, adding that she is sharing her story so that others will be more alert about maintaining their accounts.

"I hope more can be done to protect customers when issues related to online transactions arise," she said.

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