Dubai: Expat on trial for stealing Dh74,500 through a loophole in bank's WhatsApp payment system

He added a negative sign to the amount so, instead of being deducted, the money was credited to his account

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Published: Sat 6 Jul 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 6 Jul 2024, 11:06 PM

A Dubai resident is standing trial for stealing Dh74,500 by exploiting a loophole in a local bank's credit card payment system.

The bank had a feature that allowed users to settle credit card dues via WhatsApp but the accused African expat discovered a flaw: By adding a negative sign (-), the entered amount would be transferred to a bank account instead of being deducted.


Court records show that he used this tactic for two consecutive days and he was able to steal Dh74,500 — which the banking system erroneously credited into his account even if the card didn't have the necessary funds.

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He reportedly transferred the amount to an account in another local bank and withdrew the money on the same day,

The fraudulent transactions were detected by the victim bank’s accounting and IT department, which led to an internal review of the accused’s account. Upon discovering the unauthorised transactions, the bank officials reported the incident to the police at Al Muraqqabat Station.

The man was then apprehended and a white iPhone Pro Max 15, believed to be used in committing the crime, was seized from him.

During investigation, an IT specialist at the victim bank testified that the flaw was discovered during a routine audit in February.

The accused denied the charges, claiming that his phone had been hacked on the dates of the transactions on February 2 and 3. He also argued that he believed the funds were transferred by someone with whom he had previous financial dealings.

In addition to the criminal charges, the bank filed a civil lawsuit against the man, seeking Dh51,000 in damages.

The court has referred the civil claim to the competent civil court for further deliberation, pending the final outcome of the criminal case.

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