San Francisco: In a bizarre case, a man’s online payment to his dog walker was blocked by a bank in the US because his service dog’s name sounded like a dreaded terror network.
Bruce Francis, 55, from San Francisco, was transferring USD 374 from his account to his dog walker and wrote his dog’s name ‘Dash’ in the memo line, as he has done every month for the past couple of years.
Chase Bank blocked Francis’s online payment because his pitbull mix’s moniker loosely resembles the terrorist network ‘Daesh’, another name for ISIS.
Bank officials thought ‘Dash’ was a hair too close to ‘Daesh’ the Arabic term for ISIS, and cancelled the payment. The dog walker notified Francis ten days later that she still had not been paid.
“I called my bank, and they were kind of squirrely about why the payment didn’t go through,” Francis told the New York Daily News.
When he logged into his account, he realised the bank had flagged the transfer made earlier this month for review by the US Treasury Department, which posted a note on his account asking him to “explain what Dash means”.
“I said, ‘Oh, so that’s what this is about,'” said Francis.
“Last year, you didn’t hear John Kerry talking about Daesh, but now he is, and he pronounces it like ‘dash,” he said.
Francis, who suffers a rare form of muscular dystrophy and relies on his 9-year-old service animal, was quick to obey the Federal Reserve. He called the Office of Foreign Assets Control and told them that Dash is his dog’s name. The payment was then processed.
“The idea that my dog is a terrorist is pretty funny. Seriously, the only thing Dash could terrorise is a roast chicken,” said Francis.
A Chase Bank spokesperson defended almost collaring an innocent man and his dog.
“If a name on the OFAC list appears on a payment, we are required to review it,” the bank told KTVU San Francisco.
“This is an important part of ensuring that crime does not filter through the US banking system. In this instance, the payment was flagged, reviewed and eventually released,” he said.
This is not the first case of mistaken identity to make headlines in the war on terror.
Nutella left a bad taste in an Australian family’s mouth last year when the hazelnut-chocolate spread brand refused to personalise a jar for a 5-year-old girl named Isis.