Saudi launches campaign to stop fraud
Saudi Banks and Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency join up to spearhead campaign.
July 5, 2010 2:57 by Ben Flanagan
Saudi Arabia has launched a campaign to foil fraud attempts, educate the public about fraudulent transactions and ensure that people take basic steps to protect their personal details from criminals.
Saudi Banks, a network created collectively by the commercial banks of the Kingdom to curb banking fraud, is on the forefront of the campaign supported by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA).
“The campaign launched Sunday is mainly directed to check banking fraud and how to foil fraud attempts, especially when using PIN numbers, electronic channels and credit cards,” said Talat Zaki Hafiz, chief of the awareness committee of the Saudi Banks, while addressing a press conference here Sunday. The move to launch this campaign is significant keeping in view the growing number of fraud cases in banking transactions in different countries.
Hafiz said more than 4,500 fraudulent transactions were carried out in Saudi Arabia if you take into account ATM and point-of-sale (POS) transactions over a period of three years, from 2007 to 2009. He, however, said that this number is “quite modest, rather negligible,” if you take the total number ATM and POS transactions during the same period.
At a press conference, Mohammed Abulaziz Al-Rabeah, head of the media and banking awareness working team of Saudi Banks, and Ibrahim Abu-Mouti, a member of the working team, were at hand to answer queries on diverse issues ranging from customers’ education and banks’ fraud detection systems to the magnitude of the fraud in Saudi Arabia.
Hafiz said that the Saudi Banks was working on a proposal to train 100 executives including journalists from print and television media about banking fraud.
“The tailor-made five-day training session will be conducted at the Institute of Banking, a facility owned and operated by SAMA, as part of our campaign or more as part of our social responsibility,” he added.
He pointed out that the Saudi Banks were also publishing fact-sheet in Saudi newspapers addressing one or two problems related to fraud every month.
“This is how we address concerns of our customers,” said Hafiz, adding that the plans are also afoot to interact with Saudi universities to hold seminars and workshops on topics of banking fraud. He said that “customers’ education represents the first line of defense against any fraud or deceitful operation.”
Referring to the theme of the campaign entitled “I am protected”, Hafiz said that the Saudi Banks has had in place the world-class fraud detection system and the highest control standards in executing its operations. In this phase of the campaign, the Saudi Banks will send a series of messages to customers as how to ensure safe execution of banking transactions, he said. “Never share any information about your ATM card or its PIN number or information about credit cards”, advised Al-Rabeah.
Rabeah also called on customers to regularly change their PIN numbers, especially when returning back to the Kingdom from abroad. He called on the customers not to choose common numbers for the PIN such as the date of birth etc. On his part, Abu-Mouti, a member of Saudi Banks panel, said that the Saudi Banks has chosen in particular to launch the campaign during the current summer season, which witnesses hectic sales and purchases. A poster giving some tips to beat banking fraud was also distributed among the guests.