SAMA Cautions Bank Customers As Financial Fraud Surges

There has been surge in financial fraud incidents by unscrupulous elements to cheat bank customers, Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) reported.

Riyadh: There has been a surge in financial fraud incidents by unscrupulous elements to cheat bank customers. The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) reported the rise in its report.

The SAMA 2021 report said fraudsters use multiple methods to access people’s banking and personal data to steal their money.

The report sheds light on the different methods employed through traditional and electronic channels to access customers’ banking data. One of them is through the impersonation of bank officials.

Another method is offering customers high-profit margins in attractive investment schemes.

These offers are made through fake websites and online advertisements that falsely use names of government agencies, investment funds, and celebrities to attract investments from victims.

These fraudulent practices also include creating fake web pages or portals that sell goods or services. Cybercriminals obtain access to customers’ banking and credit card data through these portals, instantly emptying cash from their bank accounts.

During the peak of 2021, pandemic fraudsters tried to cheat aspiring drivers in the name of fake driving schools. The SAMA report pointed out.

The fraudsters lured driving school trainees to an online exam, supposedly carried out by a designated driving school.

During the fake exam process, the fraudsters collected the personal data of the candidates and opened bank accounts without their knowledge. These fake bank accounts were then used to transact money received through dishonest means.

SAMA explained the modus operandi of the fraudsters who cheat bank customers. The method involves several phases, including creating fake web pages, such as Saudi Manpower Solutions Co. (SMASCO), Ajeer, and driving schools.

Victims lured by these attractive offers enter their account details, user names, and password for accessing electronic banking services.

After gaining access to the victim’s bank details and code, the fraudsters, often from outside the Kingdom, steal money from the victim’s bank account.

SAMA urged bank clients to practice caution and avoid disclosing bank and personal data to anyone.

This includes passwords and PINs to any person or party under any circumstances. SAMA stressed the importance of ensuring the reliability of the customer’s websites.

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On Tuesday, the Central Bank lifted temporary precautionary measures introduced on April 7 to protect bank clients against this surge in financial fraud.

As per the preventive measures, SAMA had directed all local banks to stop the remote opening of bank accounts for individuals.

The central bank stated that this service would only be available at the branches. It has asked customers to complete the account activation at bank branches with their fingerprints.

SAMA updated its directives on Tuesday under which customers can open bank accounts online as per the organizational procedures.

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