Emirates ID
Photo for illustrative purposes only Image Credit: GN Archives

Dubai: Emirates ID cards should be cut into pieces across the name, numbers and chip, before the parts are disposed of on different days, according to data protection analysts.

“In today’s world, disposing off items means we just throw them into the garbage bin, but throwing away cards that have important information stored should be done with the utmost care and precaution,” said Maher Yamout, senior security researcher at cybersecurity firm Kapersky.

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Maryam Emadi, a fraud risk analyst at a leading UAE bank, agreed, “It’s definitely important that your Emirates ID card information doesn’t get in the wrong hands.

“If someone gets your Emirates ID details they can call you and quote your number and details back at you to make you believe that they are the bank, then they can ask you for your account details.

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“To avoid this you should cut across the name, number and chip and throw the parts away on different days.”

Yamout added, “Emirates IDs are a huge part of your social security and if you need to cancel it, the best way to do so is to hand it over to the respective General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs. Whereas if you are just renewing your Emirates ID and have got a new one, the old ID still holds your personal information and should be physically destroyed.”

Yamout said that the same applied for bank cards, “In the case of credit or debit cards, they contain personal information such as your bank account number and full name; these bits of information are valuable for scammers and fraudsters even if the card is expired. If you no longer need a bank account or its cards, it is vital to first notify the bank that you will no longer be using your account, they can then take the proper measures to shut down your account.

“This way, if in case scammers have access to your bank details they would have no way of misusing your account since it would be inactive. Otherwise, if the account is still active but the card is expired, it’s important to destroy them physically so that your personal information cannot be identified. You can also take further precautions and make sure to cut through your EMV chip,” he added.

Emadi said that incidents of ‘dumpster diving’ were rare in the UAE however, and that there were other more common means of data leakage to be aware of.

“I don’t know how much of a problem this is in this market, particularly over other forms of data leakage where your information gets in the wrong hands. I’ve never come across a case of dumpster diving.

“I’ve heard of people getting a hold of your Emirates ID details and pretending to be from the bank, but that’s not necessarily because you didn’t cut your Emirates ID card properly.

“It’s still important but there are other more important things you should be doing like not giving your Emirates ID to anyone unless they are an official from a legitimate authority.”