quotes SAMA’s Account Finder service reinforces banking security

25 May 2024
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Updated 25 May 2024

SAMA’s Account Finder service reinforces banking security

The Saudi Central Bank, SAMA, has launched a new service, Account Finder, for retail customers across local banks.

The new service enables retail banking customers with accounts at local banks operating in Saudi Arabia to verify their ownership through digital banking channels.

Additionally, the new service will contribute to enhancing and ensuring the reliability of the local banking system, as well as reducing the risks of suspicious transactions, unauthorized account use and impersonation.

This service underscores the continuous commitment of both SAMA and the banking sector to introduce value-added services and ensure security in e-banking transactions in line with international best practices.

It is worth noting that SAMA has always been very persistent in implementing certain security banking measures aimed at protecting bank customers’ rights and ensuring that customers’ bank accounts and transactions are fully secured, especially through e-banking channels.

Furthermore, SAMA is pioneering in ensuring the safety of financial transactions carried out by banks’ customers, especially in light of the globally observed notable increase in the number of fraudulent websites and social media accounts, including the persistent recurrence of financial fraud incidents such as social engineering scams.

Unfortunately, financial scams have deceived bank customers across the globe and exposed their transactions and accounts to potential financial fraud, especially when dealing with untrusted third parties and revealing their banking records and personal information.

SAMA has repeatedly issued instructions to all banks operating in the Kingdom to implement several security measures against financial fraud to protect customers’ transactions.

These measures stem from SAMA’s efforts to support the stability of the sector and bolster confidence within the banking and financial systems.

A scientific study conducted by Naif Arab University for Security Sciences in cooperation with Interpol has revealed the volume of financial fraud crimes directed at Arab countries via the internet.

The study also revealed that five types of financial fraud crimes are most common in the Arab world, with 24 criminal methods used to reach the victims.

Additionally, through an analysis of 503 fraudulent advertisements, the study revealed that the number of daily visits from potential victims to these fraudulent sites exceeds 137,000. The top categories include investment scams, business email scams, romance scams via text messages and sextortion.

I believe that SAMA is doing a great job in combating financial crimes, whether these crimes are linked to financial or banking fraud, or connected to money laundering.

SAMA has issued several guides for local banks operating in the Kingdom aimed at combating financial fraud.

Additionally, it helps banks set policies capable of combating financial fraud and money laundering, as well as procedures to reduce the risk of financial fraud.

SAMA released financial consumer protection principles in 2022 aimed at providing protection for bank customers and keeping abreast of internationally issued instructions.

Likewise, local banks operating in the Kingdom are doing a fantastic job in combating financial fraud and money laundering by implementing systems and procedures, including launching awareness campaigns to educate bank customers on any new financial fraud techniques and methods of protection.

I believe that for such efforts to work and achieve their goals, bank customers must strictly adhere to instructions related to protecting their bank accounts from being exposed to financial fraud.

Customers are advised not to disclose their banking records and personal information, such as passwords and verification codes, to others, including ensuring their use of authentic and trustworthy websites.

Unfortunately, the use of advanced technology in communications has become a double-edged sword, requiring collective and shared efforts between SAMA, banks and customers to ensure the safety of financial transactions.

• Talat Zaki Hafiz is an economist and financial analyst. X: @TalatHafiz