RIYADH: Naif Arab University of Security Sciences has warned of the increasing number of online financial fraud operations and the growing danger these scams pose to individuals, as well as government and private institutions.
NAUSS, through its Cybercrimes and Digital Forensics Center, highlighted 23 methods used by criminals to target individuals and companies, in addition to websites, platforms and programs used by scammers to lure victims.
The university also warned individuals and companies against responding to emails and advertisements offering investment opportunities in well-known institutions.
Financial fraud methods include the use of credible websites to attract potential victims through advertisements to invest in stocks, currencies and minerals. A victim’s personal information is gathered and they are contacted directly via phone or email.
NAUSS said that scammers also use fake versions of government apps and websites, such as Furijat, Jood and Absher platforms, which are available on Google Store. Around 14,000 downloads have been recorded for these fake applications.
Inbox Mass Mailer allows scammers to send thousands of emails to potential victims and redirect them to an application that asks for confidential information, which is then sold on the dark web.
“Some scammers also resort to impersonation,” NAUSS said, explaining that “they impersonate a bank employee and tell the victims that their personal data must be updated and that they will receive a text message containing a one-time password. This move provides the victims with a sense of credibility, which leads them to share the OTP they received on their phone number that is linked to the bank’s system, giving the scammers access to their bank accounts.”
Scammers usually use cryptocurrencies, which makes it difficult to track them outside the state borders, NAUSS said.
A recent NAUSS study found that more than 137,000 Arabs visit financial fraud websites and are subjected to various fraud approaches each day.
NAUSS has started offering a Master of Arts in Financial Integrity program in cooperation with the US-based Case Western Reserve University as part of its efforts to expand the knowledge and skills involved in the fight against financial crime.