Saudis warned over mobile text cons after 5 arrested for SR300,000 scam

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Updated 16 September 2020

Saudis warned over mobile text cons after 5 arrested for SR300,000 scam

  • The latest victims had been sent messages asking them to update their personal banking details

JEDDAH: Saudi mobile phone users have been warned to be on their guard against text fraud after five Pakistanis were arrested in connection with a SR300,000 ($80,000) scam.

Maj. Khaled Al-Kraidis, assistant media spokesman for Riyadh region police, said the latest victims had been sent messages asking them to update their personal banking details or claiming they had won cash prizes in order to be able to access their accounts.

The arrested hoaxers, who were in their 30s and 40s and have been referred to the Public Prosecution Department, used the data they gathered to make bank transfers and cash withdrawals.

Despite awareness campaigns by local authorities and banks many Saudi citizens continue to fall victim to simply text cons, such as Pathri Gangadhar, an Indian driver who moved to Riyadh to work for a family two years ago.

Within a month of starting work in the Kingdom he fell prey to scammers after receiving a text message from an unknown source saying that he needed to update his bank account and password immediately to prevent his account being closed.

“They stole all the money in my bank account. I had around SR5,000 and they took it all,” he told Arab News.

In another incident, a domestic worker from the Philippines, who gave her name as Sally F., was hoodwinked while working for her elderly employer in Jeddah. During the COVID-19 lockdown she received a text offering her the chance to win money by sending her bank data to the message sender.

Due to family financial difficulties, she took the chance and ended up losing SR7,000.

Her employer’s granddaughter, Farah Al-Maghrabi, told Arab News: “She took the chance of winning cash because her family back in the Philippines were facing financial burdens due to COVID-19. We felt awful because she was part of our family and cared for my grandmother.

“The other helpers in the family all know that if they need any help, we’re here to help but sometimes, desperate times call for desperate measures.

“It served as a warning for her to never fall for this scheme again and we showed her how to block such numbers so she doesn’t receive any more messages from them,” she said.

Members of the public can report cybercrimes via the Ministry of Interior’s Absher e-service system.


Global organizations commend Saudi Arabia’s role in e-learning

Updated 23 October 2020

Global organizations commend Saudi Arabia’s role in e-learning

JEDDAH: Six international organizations have completed two studies on e-learning in the Kingdom and praised its efforts in providing a rapid response, multiple options and continuous improvement during the coronavirus pandemic.
The studies involved the participation of 342,000 respondents and were conducted under the supervision of the Kingdom’s National Center for e-Learning.
The center said that the global organizations completed two comprehensive studies on the experience of public and higher education in Saudi Arabia during the pandemic, with the aim of documenting and studying the reality of the experience and coming up with initiatives to develop e-learning practices in accordance with current global practices and standards.
The studies were conducted with the participation of students, faculty members, teachers, parents and school leaders.
The number of participants in the public education study reached 318,000, while the number of participants in the higher education study reached 24,000.
The first study was prepared by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), with the participation of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Quality Matters (QM), the UNESCO Institute of Information Technologies in Education (IITE), the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA) in the US.
The second study was prepared by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) with the cooperation of the Harvard Graduate School
of Education.
In the studies, reference comparisons were made with more than 193 countries. The two studies showed the Kingdom’s distinction in the diversity of options, including, for example, electronic content and satellite channels available for e-learning in public education.

NUMBER

342k

The studies on e-learning involved the participation of 342,000 respondents and were conducted under the supervision of the Kingdom’s National Center for e-Learning.

The percentage of countries that succeeded in providing these at the national level was only 38 percent.
The study conducted by the OECD and the Harvard Graduate School of Education included a comparison of the Kingdom’s response to education during the COVID-19 pandemic with 37 member states.
The results showed the Kingdom’s progress in 13 out of 16 indicators on the average of
these countries.
The study also revealed that teachers received significant support to overcome obstacles to e-learning.
The study of public education indicated that there was a clear strategy for the Ministry of Education to reopen schools in the Kingdom and address any issues.
OLC hailed the efforts of the Saudi Ministry of Education in dealing with the crisis by providing a variety of options for e-learning, and the quick response to the pandemic and immediate shift to remote instruction.
The two studies recommended 71 proposed development initiatives for public education and 78 proposed development initiatives for higher education.
The National Center for e-Learning is working in coordination with the Ministry of Education to present the initiatives and begin their implementation.
The center announced that the organizations that conducted the studies would publish their results and complete the second phase at the end of the current semester.