Sunday, February 01, 2009

ICICI bank ATM gives out fake Rs.500/- note

My classmate and colleague who is working in my office drew a substantial amount on Friday, 30-Jan-2009 from the Nelson Manickam Road ICICI ATM in order to pay this at the post office towards NSC for tax savings.

We do have an ICICI ATM at the Nelson Manickam Road office as well, but more often than not, it carries only Rs.100/- denominations - quite painful in case you want a large sum, hence the need to go directly to the bank's ATM.

Anyway, so when he took the amount to the post office for deposit, the person at the counter initially laid out 5-6 Rs.500/- notes suspecting them to be fake. Under more stringent verification, also with the help of a scanner-cum-counting device, they isolated just one Rs.500/- note to be fake and refused to accept it. When told that it was just then drawn at the ICICI bank ATM at N.M.Road branch, their comment was that these kind of things appear to happen quite often with ICICI but never with SBI or such.

My shocked friend took it back to the bank asking for an explanation. The person at the bank counter started arguing and giving possible alternate explanations that my friend could have mixed up notes drawn from the ATM with those from elsewhere, etc and when my friend started pressing and arguing with them, the bank person had a sudden change of mind and exchanged the note.

It leaves me with a scary feeling that if fake notes can be dispensed from an ATM, then where is the chance for normal people to rest assured ??!!

Challenges with HSBC Credit Card, identity management

Today, Saturday, 31-Jan-2009, I got a call from someone claiming to be calling from "HSBC" offering me an upgrade from my existing life time free gold credit card to life time free platinum credit card. I was asked to confirm certain identification details on the phone, which I refused since I didn't know who was really calling (anybody could be calling in the name of HSBC). I wanted an option to avail this upgrade by calling up the call center, but there didn't seem to be such an option. I was later told that they were a TPA authorized by HSBC to offer this upgrade, but couldn't pass on the verification completion to HSBC.

It makes me wonder why HSBC would end up doing such a thing, if it really is a genuine call. There's some amount of security, identity and data privacy issues at stake here, in the given model.

IMHO, there needs to be an option for HSBC's existing customer who could get such genuine calls to be able to call the call center and complete the rest of the verification. Otherwise, HSBC's customers wouldn't be able to distinguish between a genuine HSBC call and a fraudulent one. In fact it would appear to me that HSBC is ending up encouraging the wrong practices using this model, albeit it may not be intended.