Saudis find innovative ways to give Eid gifts amid pandemic

Saudis find innovative ways to give Eid gifts amid pandemic
Eid Al-Fitr is one of the favorite times of the year for Muslims. Children look forward to celebrating Eid Al-Fitr because on this day they receive money and gifts from their elders. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 25 May 2020

Saudis find innovative ways to give Eid gifts amid pandemic

Saudis find innovative ways to give Eid gifts amid pandemic
  • Some stores offer special boxes or envelopes to hold cash, or sell cards with a little slot for holding rolled-up bills

RIYADH: Due to the ongoing pandemic, Saudis are exploring different ways to exchange gifts and eidiya. They are mostly relying on internet and different apps available to solve this problem by sending e-gifts and transferring money using electronic channels.

“I got my eidiya this year from my cousin though STC (app),” said Waleed Bukhari. “I normally receive cash from the family’s elders, but I was happy to get something different.”

An eidiya is hard to define. Its literal translation is “of Eid” and it is usually a money gift that children — and sometimes adults — receive on the morning of the first day of Eid, with amounts generally depending on one’s age.

The Saudi Telecom Co.’s payment app, STC Pay, is offering a fun way for people to send their eidiya money electronically. There are options to customize the envelope and attach a personal message, and many might find this a suitable alternative to the traditional aspect of doling out Eid money.

But some prefer to send e-gifts instead of money for Eid.

Dana Al-Harbi, a college student, said her parents never gave her money for Eid but that she had yet to receive an Eid gift from them that she did not love.




A box to hold money with ‘Blessed Eid’ written on it in Arabic.

“Money is useful, sure, but they’ve always given me stuff I appreciated much more,” she told Arab News. “They put a lot of love and thought into their gifts, and that’s more important to me than money.”

Some stores offer special boxes or envelopes to hold cash in interesting ways, or sell cards with a little slot for holding rolled-up bills. Some decorate bouquets of flowers with money, hide money inside chocolate wrappers, or even make scavenger hunts for their families with bills hidden around the house for them to find.

Wafaa Al-Mansour, a mother of five, recommends handing out gift cards.

“There’s something I don’t like about straight-up giving cash out, and I’m always out of the loop when it comes to what my children want as gifts, so I give them the option to choose what they like, but also make sure they’re not wasting money on something I don’t approve of,” she told Arab News.

She recommended gift vouchers offered by different bookstores as a good option.

“I like to get the SR100 ($26.66) vouchers, as they’re an appropriate amount, the ones under 12 get three and the ones over 12 get five. They can choose to buy books, toys, games, stationery, or even do what my sons did and save up the vouchers for the more expensive electronics. They got their PlayStation that way,” she said.

Haifa Abduljaleel prefers to send her three kids their cash by bank transfer, a process that she says has made her life much easier over the years.


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 37 min 33 sec ago

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.