Millions of rupees have been stolen from the accounts of
depositors at Himalayan Bank Limited (HBL) through fraudulent use of debit
cards. The bank has blocked all operations of its debit cards for the time
being after the thefts were revealed.
HBL CEO Ashoke Rana said that debit card transactions had
been blocked to secure depositors from such unauthorised activities by
upgrading the entire
According to him, the money was withdrawn last week from New Delhi. "We
have initiated an investigation after an accountholder complained," added Rana.
A director of the bank said the unauthorised withdrawal
amounts to less than Rs 4 million. The bank has suspected the hand of a
fugitive former employee in the debit card fraud. He added that HBL debit cards could be
unusable for the next two weeks.
The central bank has also said that they had been informed
about the fraud verbally. "We have asked HBL to provide details of the
incident," said Nepal Rastra Bank spokesperson Bhaskarmani Gnawali.
The bank said that it was now seeking to improve its
security system by introducing Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard
(PCI DSS) which will block any hacking attempt on bank accounts.
The PCI DSS is a proprietary information security standard
for organizations that handle cardholder information for major debit, credit,
prepaid, e-purse and POS cards. According HBL CEO Rana, the central bank has
also directed banks to go for such a system.
Meanwhile, in a notice published on Thursday, HBL has asked
its debit card holders to contact their respective branches to replace the
existing pin mailer with a new one for SCT and Master Debit Cards.