Saudi envoy to UK calls for more cooperation amid pandemic

Saudi envoy to UK calls for more cooperation amid pandemic
Prince Khalid bin Bandar Al-Saud
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Updated 26 May 2020

Saudi envoy to UK calls for more cooperation amid pandemic

Saudi envoy to UK calls for more cooperation amid pandemic
  • Prince Khalid said the Saudi economy is performing better than some expected

LONDON: Saudi Ambassador to the UK Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan Al-Saud has called for greater cooperation between the two kingdoms amid the coronavirus crisis.

Writing in Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, the envoy said Saudi Arabia and the UK “have lost too many people to the virus,” and referred to the similarities between the two nations in their moves to secure the long-term strength of their economies.

Prince Khalid said Britain and Saudi Arabia enjoy a close relationship, and he feels “very strongly that our two nations can help each other meet the challenges of these very difficult times.”

He added that many Britons work in Saudi companies and vice versa, and while the links between the two kingdoms have often revolved around business, the liberalized leisure opportunities brought about by the Vision 2030 reform plan will make for a rise in tourism and travel. 

Prince Khalid said the Saudi economy is performing better than some expected. Praising his country’s move to privatize Saudi Aramco, he said share prices in the company have reached pre-COVID-19 levels.

But as openness and thriving business and tourism relationships have grown between the Middle East and the West, the envoy expressed fears that some are threatening to use COVID-19 as an opportunity to erect barriers worldwide. 

This cannot “be the legacy of corona,” he said. “We can’t allow a division to emerge between East and West, we must all work together to build a prosperous open global trading legacy.

“Britain and Saudi Arabia, as countries that in different ways are both dependent on global trade, must work together to make sure that the world makes the right choice.”


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 (SAMA) 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.