How to Avoid Online Fraud in the UAE
Almost four in every 10 UAE consumers have experienced online fraud attempts in the past year, highlighting the need for a refresher on how to avoid becoming a victim of cyber-crime. Interestingly, the threat isn’t deterring consumers in the region: the majority still prefer digital payment methods over cash, citing convenience, improved technology, and advanced security methods as the reasons why.
This shift to digital payments and the sheer volume of daily transactions has created huge opportunities for fraudsters. Cash on Delivery payments declined dramatically during the pandemic, dropping 75 percent in favor of contactless cards and e-wallets, the use of which almost doubled during the same time. At least 40 percent of customers say they won’t revert to paying for goods and services in cash, although many have experienced phishing and credit card fraud, or received counterfeit goods.
Phishing scams are becoming increasingly difficult to identify as fraudsters have improved their ability to replicate banking and business communications to customers. The way the scam works is usually via email, with the aim of convincing the recipient to click on a link or open a file that will install malware on the user’s device. The end goal is to obtain the passwords, personal data, and banking information of the person duped.
Following one golden rule will protect you from phishing scams: never open a file or click on a link that you are unsure of. If you need to verify the contents of an email is legitimate, contact the sender to confirm before you expose yourself to risk. You also might be able to identify a phishing scam by checking the email ID of the sender. If it doesn’t have a legitimate domain name attached, move it straight to your deleted items.
Credit Card Fraud
Although the UAE was ranked the second safest nation in the world in 2021, credit card fraud does still occur. The good news is, there are more than a few ways to protect yourself against it. First of all, keep an eye on your statements and always keep a lookout for small amounts being spent. These might be test transactions being carried out before the fraudster makes a big purchase in your name.
Sign your credit card the minute you receive it, and memorize your PIN. Keeping it written down and in a safe place might seem like a sensible idea, but it’s one more way for someone to gain access to your finances.
Most banks in UAE will allow you to immediately block your card via the bank’s app or internet banking on a PC. Knowing how to do this in advance will save precious time later if your card falls into the wrong hands.
Internet banking has revolutionized the way we spend, save and move our money, but there are certain precautions to take to ensure security. Never make banking transactions on a public WiFi network, and avoid sharing a PC when dealing with sensitive information. It’s also important to always log out of each session properly.