Qutaiba bin Hamoud Al-Saadoun, director at the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture

Qutaiba bin Hamoud Al-Saadoun, director at the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture
Qutaiba bin Hamoud Al-Saadoun
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Updated 26 November 2020

Qutaiba bin Hamoud Al-Saadoun, director at the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture

Qutaiba bin Hamoud Al-Saadoun, director at the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture

Qutaiba bin Hamoud Al-Saadoun is the director of the forestry and afforestation department at the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture (MEWA), where he also provides consultancy services.
In an interview with Al-Ekhbariya TV channel, he said that the MEWA was planning to replace imported trees with local ones. His comments came as the ministry on Saturday launched its Let’s Make it Green campaign which aims to plant 10 million trees throughout the Kingdom by the end of April.
He pointed out that planting trees not only had health, environmental, and aesthetic benefits for people but also helped to reduce the effects of desertification, develop natural habitats, and improve quality of life.
Al-Saadoun gained a bachelor’s degree in plant and environmental sciences from King Saud University’s college of sciences in 1985 and five years later a master’s degree in fungi environment of wild medicinal plants from the same university.
In 1986, he joined the Saudi Wildlife Authority where he gained extensive experience in planning and environmental sciences over a period of more than three decades. He held several positions with the authority including as director of its reserved areas planning department, and director of studies and research.
The adviser, who was the first Saudi to obtain a certificate in reserved area management, has also worked in the fields of environmental strategies, planning, and management of nature reserves and parks.
During his career, Al-Saadoun has taken part in scientific studies, and the conservation of biodiversity in Saudi deserts, coastal plains, mountains, coasts, and islands. He is often invited by media channels to comment on MEWA initiatives to conserve agricultural resources and combat desertification.
Over 30 years, he has gained wide supervision skills through his role as an environmental overseer of licenses requested by mining, exploration, and development project applicants and he has been responsible for socio-economic studies and environmental assessment of sites.
Al-Saadoun, an internationally certified environmental planner, represented Saudi Arabia at the international Convention on Biological Diversity. He is a member of a range of global and local organizations and has founded a number of national bodies to help control unfair logging.


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.