RIYADH: Fraudsters are now applying innovative ways to cheat people via email.
They used to make mobile calls and send texts or messages via WhatsApp, but now they are sending emails bearing bank logos and asking users to update accounts, even seeking personal information.
The banking service organization Saudi Banks has warned customers not to respond to such fraudulent emails.
Talat Zaki Hafiz, secretary-general of the committee on information and banking awareness of Saudi Banks, said: “Saudi Banks has repeatedly warned customers against responding to a series of emails that have recently appeared from anonymous sources with local bank logos.”
It has issued security alerts telling customers not to update their bank accounts in response to fraudulent email messages pretending to do system maintenance or to letters claiming to be from official or public names, requesting funds or donations, he told Arab News.
Hafiz said that Saudi Banks has no role in pursuing and tracking the source of these fraudulent messages. However, the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has allocated the number 330330 for notifying the authorities, who will act quickly.
Those indulging in fraudulence will be fined up to SR2 million ($530,000) or given sentences of up to 3 years in prison. A spokesman for Saudi Banks said there were no statistics on the number of phishing messages received by customers, as some people did not report them.
He expressed confidence in the awareness of customers and their active participation with relevant authorities to address such issues.
Telecom providers, including Saudi Telecom Co., have also warned their customers to ignore such messages and not to share personal details.
A warning was also issued by the STC for customers to avoid logging on to their banks online via public Wi-Fi hotspots, calling on users to disable data sharing on their devices as a precautionary measure.