These days most of us use a multiplicity of traditional and electronic channels to access our money, make banking transactions and use financial services and products.
Financial fraud has increased rapidly in number and sophistication of techniques and methods used by fraudsters. Their main goal is to deceive individuals in order to illegally obtain their banking details, like card numbers & PINs and bank account information. Once they have access to these details, they proceed to steal money and drain savings, possibly also involving money laundering and terrorism financing.
Many of us may have been victims of financial fraud or are at risk of becoming one, due to our unawareness of the methods of fraud used and lack of knowledge on safety precautions that can prevent us from being exposed and becoming an easy target. Here, we will outline how best to protect yourself against fraud.
The Most Common Methods of Financial Fraud
- Unauthorized persons claiming to be officials from official entities and government organisations, such as banks or monetary agencies, may contact you on your mobile phone or send text messages or e-mails asking you to disclose your credit card or bank account details on the pretext of updating your data, giving a prize or fixing a problem with your bank account.
- Dealing with unauthorized entities and individuals claiming to offer services, such as loans offered at better-than-market rates and terms, or repayment offers for loans and financial obligations that may require you to sign documents, which ultimately make you pay more than what you owe.
- Your bank account and credit card information is exposed to hacking because your computer or mobile phone is not protected by antivirus programs when using electronic channels and portals for banks or unsecured online shopping sites to make purchases.
- Hidden and unauthorised cameras or readers on ATMs enable fraudsters to read bankcard data and obtain PINs.
Methods of Protection Against Financial Fraud
- Do not respond to any phone calls or text messages requiring you to disclose information about your bank accounts or credit cards. Also, if someone calls you claiming that you have won a prize and asks for your full name, date of birth, address and banking details, hang up the phone and report the number that called you to the authorities. Most victims of financial fraud are contacted by phone, so be vigilant.
- Do not deal with unauthorized parties or individuals, such as those who claim to be investment managers.
- Do not use the same PIN number for more than one of your bank or credit cards.
- Protect your computer and mobile from hacking by installing effective up-to-date antivirus software to browse the Internet safely.
- Do not write down the PIN for your credit cards, bank cards or bank account numbers in your mobile phone or on a piece of paper to keep inside your wallet along with your credit and bank cards.
- Make sure to use your hand to cover the number pad when entering your PIN when using ATMs or POS machines in shops and restaurants.
- Check your bank statements and your credit card statement regularly to review your financial transactions and identify and report any unrecognised or unusual activities.
- Inform the bank immediately of any fraud or attempted fraud that you are exposed to so that the bank can take the necessary action and (if needed) educate and inform its other customers.
- Change the username and password you use for your online banking on a regular basis.
It is important to know that Saudi banks do not require their customers to update their bank or personal data over the phone under any circumstances, and that the only way to update data is through bank branches only. For غour own protection, telecom companies in the Kingdom have allocated a free service to report fraud and faked SMS in the form of a request to update your personal banking data or in the form of financial rewards. All you have to do is to resend the SMS including the sender’s mobile number to the unified number 330330.
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