Saudis share food despite restrictions

Saudis share food despite restrictions
Sharing food increases bonds between people and brings out the affection in them. (Shutterstock)
Short Url
Updated 22 May 2020

Saudis share food despite restrictions

Saudis share food despite restrictions
  • Cultural tradition continues during Ramadan, albeit cautiously due to coronavirus

JEDDAH: Saudis’ deeply ingrained and dearly held tradition of sharing food has continued during Ramadan despite coronavirus fears, albeit cautiously.

Fatimah Ahmed, a 53-year-old housewife and mother of four, told Arab News that she has shared food with the janitor “as he lives alone and doesn’t have a family that cooks for him during this special time of the year.”

She said the concept is not only about sharing food, but sharing joy and God’s reward as well.

Afaf Filemban, 50, told Arab News that she has shared food with her neighbors “because I feel like it increases bonds between people and brings out the affection in them.”

Summaiya Ezmirli, a Syrian expat living in Jeddah, said her family shared food only from mid-Ramadan as they were very cautious at first.

“We observed the neighbors and how careful they were, so we decided to start sharing our food with them,” she told Arab News.

Ezmirli said her family still supports social distancing, but sharing food with trustworthy people while keeping a safe distance is different.

“We make sure no one comes in direct contact with each other. We just hand over the tray of food and greet each other,” she added.

Ezmirli said the circumstances are hard but people need to make the best of every situation, and sharing food during Ramadan is part of the holy month’s charm.

“We can’t go to our families and have iftar parties — neighbors are all we have in this situation,” she added.

Amal Abbas, a mother of five from Makkah who lives in Jeddah, said she is making the dessert dibyaza, which is usually prepared prior to Eid, and delivering it to friends.

“Of course this is just for close friends who didn’t get to buy dibyaza, or don’t know how to make it, or don’t have the patience to do it,” she told Arab News.

“I made sure to sanitize everything and put the dibyaza in tupperware. I also gift-wrapped some bukhoor (incense) as a gift.”


Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia

Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia
Vishing that occurs during a telephone call aims to provoke fear in the victim so that customers will be more susceptible to giving out personal, financial, or security details. (shutterstock)
Updated 18 January 2021

Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia

Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia
  • The Saudi Central Bank has warned bank customers, both citizens and expatriates, not to fall victim to financial frauds being perpetrated by scammers

JEDDAH: Fraudsters have developed a new scam, contacting residents in Saudi Arabia and pretending to be bank staffers requesting customer details.
A number of Arab News staff have received such calls in recent weeks. One caller spoke Urdu while two other callers posing as senior officials from the headquarters of the bank spoke in English and Arabic with a local accent.
They used phone numbers that appeared to be local numbers but upon calling back, the lines failed to connect.
The racketeers collect phone numbers of customers and ring them up, saying that their bank account or ATM card requires immediate updating. The scammers use the information provided to gain access to their bank accounts.
Speaking to Arab News, Talat Zaki Hafiz, secretary-general of the Media and Banking Awareness Committee of Saudi banks, said: “Saudi banks represented by the Media and Banking Awareness Committee have repeatedly warned bank customers not to react to stray phone calls of any kind coming from unknown sources that ask to update their banking record or personal information.” He further confirmed that banks do not request such information through phone calls or SMS messages.
Mohammed Khurram Khan, a professor of cybersecurity at the King Saud University in Riyadh, told Arab News: “Phishing, an online scam which targets users through emails where individuals are encouraged to click on a link that takes them to fraudulent sites, was troubling people. Now it’s a different kind of scam known as ‘vishing,’ over-the-phone phishing, where scammers persuade users to share their banking information by impersonating a bank official.”

HIGHLIGHT

The racketeers collect phone numbers of customers and ring them up, saying that their bank account or ATM card requires immediate updating. The scammers use the information provided to gain access to their bank accounts.

Vishing that occurs during a telephone call aims to provoke fear in the victim so that customers will be more susceptible to giving out personal, financial, or security details.
Sharing his experience Zafar Hasan, an e-learning consultant in Riyadh, said: “I received a call from someone on an unknown mobile number who introduced himself as a bank employee and told me that my ATM card was going to be blocked. It required an immediate update so I should give my Iqama number (residence permit number) and sixteen-digit ATM card number. I felt something was fishy, so I told him that I would go personally to the bank to update the card.”
The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has warned bank customers, both citizens and expatriates, not to fall victim to financial frauds being perpetrated by scammers.
SAMA called on bank customers to take information only from the official channels of the bodies regulating the Kingdom’s financial and investment sectors and inform the competent security authorities about such fraudulent attempts.