Sharjah: In line with the UAE Vision 2021, which aims to make the country the safest place in the world, Sharjah Islamic Bank and Sharjah Police General Headquarters will launch a two-week awareness campaign called “Stay Safe… Secure Your Account” from October 27 to educate the community on how to identify bank frauds and avoid being scammed by them.
Addressing the press in Sharjah ahead of the campaign, Hassan Al Bulghouni, director of corporate communications at Sharjah Islamic Bank and Colonel Faisal Ibrahim Al Nassar, deputy director of Criminal Investigation Department at Sharjah Police, stressed on the need for greater public awareness to be created about bank frauds, so that they do not fall prey to scamsters.
Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Major-General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, commander-in-chief of Sharjah Police, emphasised on 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 reason why many are victims of bank fraud. They deal with dubious phone calls or text messages from people who claim they are employees of the bank. They give their bank account information and confidential card numbers to such people who claim they need to update their data. They do not verify the source of such contacts. It is only later that they discover they were not dealing with the bank, by which time the fraudsters would have withdrawn their money and stolen their savings.”
Major General Al Shamsi called on all members of 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 customer accounts. This will, in turn, help protect bank cards’ information and numbers from falling into the wrong hands.
Mohammad Abdullah, CEO of Sharjah Islamic Bank, said, “Launching this awareness campaign is part of the efforts of Sharjah Islamic Bank and Sharjah Police General Headquarters to educate bank customers and the public at large about the ways to protect their financial statements and bank accounts. It also explains to them ways to avoid fraud and electronic phishing in its various forms, including viruses and cunning software that are designed by scammers.”
How data is extracted
“Fraudsters come up with several ways to obtain sensitive personal information via a phone call, e-mail and SMS. Customers receiving any suspicious e-mails or phone calls or any unusual online bank account activity should immediately report it to the Customer Service Centre,” he added.
Colonel Faisal bin Nassar, deputy director of Criminal Investigation Department at Sharjah Police, stressed the importance of an ongoing awareness campaign regarding bank robberies which are dealt with by the concerned authorities in line with the national agenda of the UAE Vision 2021.
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.
The conference was attended by Lieutenant Colonel Hamad Abdulla Bin Qasmoul, acting director of the community police department at Sharjah Police , Lt Col Mohammed Hassan Al Mannai, head of community awareness section, Community Police Department and Capt Mohsen Ahmad, director of the Cybercrime Department at Sharjah Police. It was also attended by Sharjah Islamic Bank officials including Jassim Al Baloushi, head of organisational excellence at SIB, Mohammad Yousif, head of customer complaints and Hassan Al Midfa, head of government business.
What the campaign entails
Hassan Al-Belghouni, director of corporate communications, Sharjah Islamic Bank, said, “The campaign Stay Safe… Secure Your Account will be officially launched on October 27 and will continue for two weeks. The campaign includes organising several lectures in government departments and councils in cooperation with the Districts and Villages Affairs Department. Advertising campaigns will also be launched in newspapers, on local radio stations, social media platforms, display screens at shopping centres, creative videos, SMS and warnings through the Call Centre, in addition to awareness drives by the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments.
He said those who fall prey to bank fraudsters must waste no time in contacting the bank immediately to get the account suspended and prevent any further withdrawals. He said often fraudsters make several transfers to the hacked account and get as much money as possible from the victim.