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Citibank says glitch fixed; no data breach

|By Arabian Post Staff| Citibank has clarified that the ‘technical glitch’ that caused transmission of SMS messages to credit card customers about certain mysterious credit card transactions that they did not initiate has been resolved and there  has been no data breach or compromising of personal information. The problem affected only a limited number of customers, the bank said further.

Citibank credit card customers were on Friday surprised to receive SMS messages about an alleged transaction purportedly for airline booking faked on India’s Indigo airline. The message about the transaction, amounting to a few thousand dirhams, offered customers the opportunity to convert the amount into an easy instalment plan of up to 48 months by visiting the official Citibank website https://online.citibank.ae.

One such message said: “Your transaction of AED 4452 at Indigogurgaon can now be converted to an Easy Installment Plan of up to 48 months by visiting https://online.citibank.ae. T&C apply”.

Indigogurgaon was probably faked for Interglobe, the agency handling Indigo’s online bookings, which also happens to be located in Gurgaon.

Customers who tried to call the Citibank call centre had a harrowing time, with the phone at the other end giving out a hanged or engaged tone, obviously as the call centre was swamped by distress calls.

Those who were able to get through got the recorded message that there was unusually heavy volume of calls at the moment and longer than normal delay may be expected in getting access to a Citibank customer service agent.  It further advised the callers to visit the Citibank UAE official site for help, but there were no announcement or advisories about the problem.

Those who succeeded to connect to the customer service agents were told not to worry about the message and that it will not get reflected in the accounts.

Another message from Citibank in the evening referred to an’erroneous’ SMS from Citibank offering to convert the Citi card transaction into Easy Installment Plan  and advised customers to ignore the message as it was sent due to a ‘technical  glitch’.

It is pointed out that if that was the case, it is all the more serious because the message referred to Indigogurgaon, which by all indications is a fake entity.

One of Citibank’s biggest hacking exposures happened in 2011, when personal information, including email ids and phone numbers of about 350,000 credit card holders in the US was breached, for which the bank had to pay penalties to the regional authorities.