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Sharjah Police are continuing their efforts to intensify their activities to contain fraud over the telephone. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Sharjah: The Eastern Region Police Department of Sharjah Police General Command has launched an awareness campaign under the slogan ‘Be vigilant. Don’t be fooled by phone’, in cooperation with the UAE Central Bank and various banks in the country, to educate the community on how to identify bank frauds and avoid being scammed by them. The campaign comes as part of Sharjah Police’s strategy to keep community members safe, in accordance with the objectives of the Ministry of Interior to enhance security.

Colonel Dr Ali Al Kay Al Hammoudi, Director of the Eastern Region Police Department, said that Sharjah Police are continuing their efforts to intensify their activities to contain fraud over the telephone, in addition to spreading security awareness on a larger scale to all segments of society, urging everyone to take all the necessary precautions to protect them from fraud .

Colonel Dr Ali Al Kay Al Hammoudi

He stressed on the need for greater public awareness to be created about bank frauds, so that people do not fall prey to scamsters.

Colonel Al Hammoudi pointed out that phone fraud is one of the most serious threats facing bank customers — with the attacks primarily aimed at stealing personal information such as user names, passwords, credit card information and other sensitive data, with the aim of hacking the victims’ accounts and stealing their money.

He also pointed out that methods of conning people have changed and evolved with the continued qualitative changes in digital technology, which makes it important to start large-scale awareness campaigns to raise public awareness on the dangers of these types of crimes.

Col Al Hammoudi also emphasised the importance of cooperation between the Sharjah Police Headquarters and its strategic partners in overcoming security problems experienced by different sectors of society. He said the awareness campaign was launched to educate bank customers, through media and social media platforms, about ways to protect themselves from crimes that target their money by hacking into their bank accounts and obtaining confidential data.

Lack of awareness

He said: “Lack of awareness is one of the reasons why many fall victim to bank fraud. Criminals make dubious phone calls or send text messages to people, claiming to be employees or representatives of the bank. Gullible customers disclose their bank account details or confidential card numbers to such people who claim they need to update their data. People do not verify the source of such contacts. It is only later that they discover that the people they were dealing with were not from the bank, but were fraudsters who had withdrawn money from their account.”

Col Al Hammoudi called on all members of the society, especially bank customers, to participate in the campaign and benefit from the information provided to them. He asked bank customers to pay heed to bank instructions and understand how their banks manage customers’ accounts. This will, in turn, help prevent sensitive and confidential information from falling into the wrong hands.

How data is extracted

“Fraudsters come up with several ways to obtain sensitive personal information via a phone call, e-mail or SMS. Customers receiving any suspicious e-mail or phone call or who spot any unusual transaction in their accounts should immediately report it to authorities.

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He said, thanks to the alertness of the police, several gangs of fraudsters have been busted and arrests made, with money stolen from accounts being traced and returned to the customers.

Col Al Hammoudi urged bank customers to cooperate with the security services by immediately contacting the police on the emergency number 999 in case if they feel threatened or if exposed to fraud over the phone.