This is our money and what Nagad is doing is unlawful, says one account holder
A group of Nagad account holders on Tuesday protested outside the head office of the mobile financial service (MFS) provider, seeking restoration of frozen accounts.
Muhammad Zahidul Islam, head of Public Relations at Nagad, said they have sought permission from Bangladesh Bank to lift the suspensions.
“In fact, there is no alternative but to lift the freeze. Now, with the approval of the central bank, we will announce the next course of action,” he added.
Islam also confirmed that a group of account holders did visit its head office and inquire about the blocked accounts.
Last week, Nagad suspended about 13,000 accounts affiliated with controversial e-commerce platforms after it found evidence of suspicious transactions.
Transactions of those accounts were suspended temporarily and an official complaint was lodged with the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC).
At the same time, the list of the accounts was provided to Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).
The MFS provider issued the suspension notice through SMS, asking users to call 16167 for further clarification on the matter.
“Some accounts received multiple refunds although they did not pay at all. That is why we blocked the accounts in consultation with the BFIU and police," Islam said.
Ashish Chakraborty, chief information officer at Nagad, told Dhaka Tribune on Saturday that their system runs on an algorithm and upon detecting suspicious transactions, they suspended the accounts of the users.
“Suppose your debit card pin is entered wrong several times, your card will get deactivated for a certain period until an investigation is completed. That is the case for us as well. Our system detected suspicious transactions as they involved some e-commerce platforms,” Chakraborty explained.
‘This is our money’
“This is our money and what Nagad is doing is unlawful,” said Md Raihan Uddin, a Nagad account holder, who had ordered some products from Sirajganj Shop a while ago.
“They refunded the money but I am unable to withdraw it because of the account suspension. But now the account is blocked and I need to immediately withdraw cash,” he told Dhaka Tribune.
Another Nagad user Tanim Ahmed said: “I have paid nearly Tk1 lakh to an e-commerce platform via Nagad. When that shop failed to deliver the products, they refunded the money. But Nagad counted it as suspicious and blocked my account. I want my account and my money back.”
Ahmed said he has contacted Nagad customer service, who assured him the suspension was temporary.
“But I have read in the news that they have handed our details to law enforcers,” he said.
Another Nagad account holder Md Abul Quddus wrote in a social media post that due to the account suspension he is unable to pay for treatments, adding that his account has Tk2.96 lakh in it.
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Abdullah Al Faisal told Dhaka Tribune that Nagad suspended his account without any notice.
“Earlier, when I made the payment to e-commerce sites, they had no suspicions. But now that the shops are paying me back my own money, they are doubting it. Clearly, they are deceiving the customers!” he added.
Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar on Saturday stressed the importance of taking tough action against digital criminals involved in e-commerce fraud at a webinar.
“We should use superior technology to curb digital crimes. To prevent digital crimes, we need digital measures as the one Nagad took,” the minister said.
Mustaf Jabbar said the government wants a digital society that is free from criminal activities.
“Nagad is a service of the Postal Department. So, we can assure you from the government side that the law enforcement agencies will get the highest level of support from us in dealing with the digital criminals,” he added.