Saudi Commerce Ministry warns shoppers against online scams

Saudi Commerce Ministry warns shoppers against online scams
The ministry urges consumers to only deal with trusted stores, and not to respond to social media that promotes unknown and unreliable foreign websites. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 01 April 2021

Saudi Commerce Ministry warns shoppers against online scams

Saudi Commerce Ministry warns shoppers against online scams
  • Efforts continue to track and block unknown and unreliable links to protect consumers

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has recently become the target of online fraudsters and scammers whose fake logos impersonate government entities in an attempt to lure not only naive online shoppers but experienced ones.

The Saudi Ministry of Commerce renewed its warning to consumers against shopping with unknown and unreliable foreign electronic stores. It said that monitoring and follow-up operations had led to group of websites belonging to a Chinese store, which was blocked earlier, in addition to 184 links to sites with different names.

The ministry confirmed that it is continuing its efforts to track and block these links to protect consumers in coordination with the competent authorities.

It added that these websites were exploiting social media platforms to target the Saudi market with fake and misleading ads and low-quality goods.

In its statement, the ministry said that the violating websites had a number of things in common: “They use random website addresses; they lack information about the facility, its address, and contact numbers; they communicate with shoppers only via emails; they intensify their online ads through social media and video-sharing social networking service platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat and TikTok.”

The blocked sites, the statement added, use the Arabic language and Saudi currency in their dealings with customers. The violating websites are also designed to simulate the websites of electronic stores.

The Ministry of Commerce noted that the scam websites post pictures that do not match real products. These same products, which are displayed with fake discounts and offers, are available on other international sites at much lower prices.

The ministry urges consumers to only deal with trusted stores, and not to respond to social media that promotes unknown and unreliable foreign websites, and to report them through the https://mci.gov.sa/C-app, or by calling 1900 or visiting the ministry’s official website.

HIGHLIGHT

The Saudi Ministry of Commerce renewed its warning to consumers against shopping with unknown and unreliable foreign electronic stores. It said that monitoring and follow-up operations had led to group of websites belonging to a Chinese store, which was blocked earlier, in addition to 184 links to sites with different names.

A tweet that has been pinned on the customer service account of the Saudi Post since November 2020 warns against dealing with websites impersonating the official logo of the Saudi Post to request personal or financial data.

The official account stresses that customers must gain information through the approved channels of the Saudi Post.

Naif Al-Jaweeni, a Saudi real estate investment trainer, on Sunday fell victim to a scam that cost him SR26,000 ($6,932), which was taken from his credit card in no more than eight minutes to an unknown bank account.

In a video that circulated widely on social media, Al-Jaweeni said that he had been expecting a shipment he had ordered to arrive.

“I received an email with the name of the Saudi Post on it, and I thought it was the items I had bought online. The sender requested the numbers of my ID card, mobile phone and credit card,” Al-Jaweeni told Saudi news website, Akhbaar24. “For I was expecting the delivery on the same day, I did not think twice to provide them with the numbers.”

He then noticed that large amounts of cash were withdrawn from his account, and he immediately reported the issue to his bank to stop further withdrawals from his credit card balance, estimated at SR50,0000.

“At first I thought that the money withdrawn from me was in Saudi riyals, which meant that I lost SR43,000 out of 50,000 in my credit card, but then I found out that the money withdrawn from my card account was in the Danish currency,” he said.

Al-Jaweeni said that he later came to learn that the website that “stole” his money was a Danish website called “Kiosk Bien.”

The real estate trainer called on everyone to be cautious when dealing with electronic stores. He also hoped that local banks would make more efforts to protect people from such scams.

Al-Jaweeni, who has more than 54,000 Twitter followers, said in a tweet that he had received messages from people who have been scammed in the same way.

“I received many messages in which the senders confirmed they have lost big amounts of money in such scams. A man sent me a message claiming that he lost over SR60,000 in a similar fraud. A young girl also texted me saying she paid her whole dowry money in a similar scam,” he said.

“It is clear that fraud has developed greatly and it is also obvious that people need greater financial measures to protect them. Awareness alone is not enough to solve this problem. Fraudulent gangs seem to have tight power on us.”


Saudi Arabia’s King Salman exchanges Ramadan wishes with Bahraini king

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman exchanges Ramadan wishes with Bahraini king
Updated 19 min 43 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman exchanges Ramadan wishes with Bahraini king

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman exchanges Ramadan wishes with Bahraini king

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman received a phone call from Bahrain’s King Hamad congratulating him on the advent of the month of Ramadan.
King Salman expressed his thanks to King Hamad for the greetings.


Arab coalition destroys Houthi drone targeting Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition destroys Houthi drone targeting Saudi Arabia
Updated 11 April 2021

Arab coalition destroys Houthi drone targeting Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition destroys Houthi drone targeting Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: The Arab coalition has destroyed a Houthi drone targeting Saudi Arabia, news channel Al-Arabiya has reported.

The coalition said the attack is a continuation of the Houthi’s “systematic and intentional hostile attempts to target civilians.”

It said the drone was fired towards Jazan in the south of the kingdom.  

The bloc said it was taking all necessary operational measures to protect civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law. 


Saudi Arabia postpones second COVID-19 dose reservations

Saudi Arabia postpones second COVID-19 dose reservations
Updated 11 April 2021

Saudi Arabia postpones second COVID-19 dose reservations

Saudi Arabia postpones second COVID-19 dose reservations
  • Due to a global shortage in vaccine manufacturing and delivery, MoH provided more room for first timers

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health (MoH) said it has postponed second dose appointments for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines in order to ensure more of the Kingdom’s residents can receive their first dose.

According to the MoH, all second dose reservations will be rescheduled as of Sunday April 11 and will resume at a later time. The ministry added that due to a global shortage in vaccine manufacturing and delivery, they’ve provided more room for first timers, especially those in high risk categories, to receive theirs.
Over 6.1 million vaccine doses have been administered in the Kingdom so far, at a rate of 175,000 daily doses, which means 17.5 percent of the Kingdom has received at least one dose.
Municipalities coordinating with relevant authorities continue to inspect commercial establishments, especially in areas known to be overcrowded across the Kingdom. Jeddah municipality, with the participation of a number of relevant authorities, closed 81 shops in Al-Sawarikh International Market in the south of the governorate, after finding multiple violations, including failure to adhere to precautionary and preventive measures among visitors, and a lack of commitment to social distancing measures.

FASTFACT

Over 6.1 million vaccine doses have been administered in the Kingdom.

The MoH reported 878 new cases of COVID-19 in the Kingdom on Saturday, meaning 397,636 people in Saudi Arabia have now contracted the disease.
The top three most infected regions were Riyadh with 410 infections, Makkah with 149 cases, and the Eastern Province with 141, while the lowest reported number of cases were in Baha, with just seven cases.
The number of active cases also rose, to 8,113 active cases in the Kingdom, 914 of them critical — a rise of 16 in the past 24 hours.
The ministry announced 578 new recovered cases, taking the total number of recoveries to 382,776. Saudi Arabia’s recovery rate has decreased to 96.2 percent.
For the first time in nearly four months, the number of deaths reported in the Kingdom rose to double digits, as 10 new COVID-19 related deaths were reported on Saturday, raising the death toll to 6,747. A total of 61,640 PCR tests were conducted in the past 24 hours, raising the total number of tests in the Kingdom to 15,738,545.


Saudi artist in the driver’s seat for new Jeddah street project

Saudi artist in the driver’s seat for new Jeddah street project
Shalimar Sharbatly will paint a new set of vehicles for the Draw a Nation initiative. (Supplied)
Updated 10 April 2021

Saudi artist in the driver’s seat for new Jeddah street project

Saudi artist in the driver’s seat for new Jeddah street project
  • Draw a Nation comes within the framework of initiatives to improve the visual appeal of Jeddah’s streetscapes

RIYADH: A Saudi abstract artist who won global recognition for her hand-painted and customized cars will paint a new set of vehicles for an extended edition of the Draw a Nation initiative after signing an agreement with the Jeddah municipality.
Shalimar Sharbatly, a pioneer of the “Moving Art” school, was responsible for both a hand-painted, customized Porsche 911, showcased at the Paris Motor Show, and a Formula 1 racer, known as “La Torq,” which was unveiled at the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix.
Both vehicles were also exhibited at the Louvre museum in Paris as part of a “Moving Art” exhibition in 2017.
However, within the Kingdom, Sharbatly is best known for the Draw a Nation initiative, which saw her showcase several of her hand-painted vehicles during last year’s Saudi National Day celebrations.
Sharbatly was inspired to upcycle old cars after witnessing an accident while driving along the beach in Jeddah. She told Arab News that painting the vehicles helped her regain a sense of purpose.

BACKGROUND

Shalimar Sharbatly, a pioneer of the ‘Moving Art’ school, was responsible for both a hand-painted, customized Porsche 911, showcased at the Paris Motor Show, and a Formula 1 racer, known as ‘La Torq,’ which was unveiled at the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix.

“I had become disillusioned with art and was lacking passion. I started painting these cars, turning abandoned vehicles that were deemed useless into vibrant and beautiful works of art that could gain a second life. I hope that when others view these pieces, they will feel the same joy I felt when I was painting them,” she said.
Draw a Nation comes within the framework of initiatives to improve the visual appeal of Jeddah’s streetscapes. The goal is to paint a number of old and abandoned cars and vehicles, turning them into works of art that enrich the city.
Ayed Al-Zahrani, undersecretary for the mayor of Jeddah for community service, said: “The community will benefit from recycling cars and turning them into artistic masterpieces displayed in public for Jeddah residents and visitors.”
The Jeddah municipality also previously launched the “Yalla Jeddah” platform, which invites innovators in all fields to address challenges facing Jeddah’s art scene.


Renovation projects underway in Makkah

Renovation projects underway in Makkah
The mountain houses the Cave of Hira, which has tremendous significance for Muslims. (Photo/Twitter)
Updated 11 April 2021

Renovation projects underway in Makkah

Renovation projects underway in Makkah
  • The sites included the Hudaybiyyah region where the Radwan Pledge took place in the sixth Hijri year, when Prophet Muhammad brokered a peace treaty between him and his followers and the Quraysh clan

JEDDAH: Reconstruction and renovation projects are underway in six Islamic historical sites and museums in Makkah.
The Royal Commission for Makkah City and Holy Sites hosted a field visit from the Executive Committee for the Path of the Islamic Historical Sites and Museums.
The sites included the Hudaybiyyah region where the Radwan Pledge took place in the sixth Hijri year, when Prophet Muhammad brokered a peace treaty between him and his followers and the Quraysh clan.
They also visited Bir Tuwa (the Well of Tuwa), Jabal Thawr, the 1,200-year-old water well and canal Ayn Zubaydah, the Mina site where the Al-Aqaba Pledge took place and Jabal Al-Nour, the Cave of Hira.
One of the most important projects is the Jabal Al-Nour Cultural Center.
The mountain houses the Cave of Hira, which has tremendous significance for Muslims because it is where the prophet is said to have had his first revelation and received the first verses of the Holy Qur’an.