Beware of financial frauds: SAMA warns bank customers

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), the central bank, has warned bank customers, citizens and expatriates of the Kingdom about the financial frauds being committed by scammers.

Recently, SAMA has found that several financial frauds have been happening via calls and text messages which are being sent by unknown entities and persons with a hidden agenda to get access to personal information or banking data of customers.

Scammers posing as bank officials use phone numbers or electronic links that do not belong to any bank or financial institution for phishing, sending emails and text messages to customers asking for their banks login details.

SAMA warned the public that it does not keep any deposits or funds belonging to any individual customers and is not conducting financial operations for them according to the banking regulations.

The central bank further stressed the significance of maintaining one’s personal and banking data fully confidential and intact and not reveal it to any unknown or doubtful parties.

SAMA has also cleared bank customers to only take information from the sources of the officials regulating Saudi Arabia’s financial and investment sectors. If in case receives any sort of fraudulent messages they have to inform the competent security authorities.

During the pandemic outbreak, there has been a huge increase in the number of cases of scammers trying to loot money from the bank accounts of customers through fraudulent means.

How do they scam customers?

The mode of operations of these scammers are almost similar. First, they collect the phone numbers of customers and then contact them through phone, saying that their bank account or ATM card needs some immediate updates as part of the new pandemic regulations.

The caller pretends to be a senior official from the headquarters of the bank and then say the first four-digit of the customers ATM card and asks the remaining digits for confirmation.

In case, the customer gives the information asked, then the caller will request to check if he/she has received a text message from the bank to authenticate the credentials.

When a customer receives an instant SMS from the bank, it will make them believe that the caller is from the bank and shares the login details which will help the scammers gain access to the account.

The local bank officials also cautioned customers about the professional racket and warned them not to disclose any information regarding personal ID or bank accounts and bank card numbers to anyone over the phone or online. Even if they receive such calls, they have to contact their respective bank branches for updating or exchanging any information related to their bank accounts or credit/debit cards.

Bank authorities have alerted the customers that apart from the loss of money, losing login details leaves customers more vulnerable to future scams. The scammers can use the banking card details for conducting more thefts like purchasing expensive goods on installment schemes.