UAE Banks Federation (UBF), the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE), Abu Dhabi Police, and Dubai Police on Tuesday announced the launch of the UAE's first national fraud awareness campaign. The joint initiative aims to educate and protect consumers from financial cybercrime and fraud, particularly in light of the increased use of digital banking services during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The campaign will be rolled out across social and traditional media channels with the support of the UBF Fraud Prevention Committee and UBF's 53 member banks. Under the theme #TogetherAgainstFraud, content will include educational videos and articles that will raise awareness on how to identify scams and avoid them.
As part of the campaign's efforts to help banks and authorities spot trends and further combat fraud, UBF has launched a micro-website where customers can report fraudulent activity.
As digital solutions disrupt the banking industry, fraudsters have become increasingly sophisticated resulting in a surge in the number of cases of fraud worldwide. Unfortunately, the UAE is no exception to this trend. In 2018, there was a year-on-year increase of 18.2 per cent in fraud cases. These numbers increased again in 2019.
Globally, fraud and cybercrime are expected to rise further. And with hundreds of millions of people mandated to stay at home to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Covid-19 related fraud is also expected to climb as fraudsters exploit people's fear and anxiety during these difficult times. Common scams are targeting victims via email, SMS, phone and social media, with fraudsters posing as genuine organisations including government entities, banks, and healthcare providers to trick victims into disclosing personal or financial information. In the UAE, the CBUAE has urged the public to be wary of potential fraudulent activities using its name, and warns that there will be a rise in these types of scams during the coronavirus outbreak.
Abdulhamid Saeed, Governor of the Central Bank of the UAE, said: "The Central Bank of the UAE is delighted to collaborate with the UAE Banks Federation, Abu Dhabi Police and Dubai Police on this crucial initiative. As a nation, we continue our fight against Covid-19 and that includes combating fraud and cyber security risks in the banking and financial system. As digital banking transactions are witnessing a significant spike during this time, we at Central Bank of the UAE have been quick to deploy robust fraud prevention measures to protect consumers. Today's announcement further validates this commitment. The newly launched fraud awareness campaign, underscored by a series of interactive and educational materials, is aimed at informing consumers about the proliferation of phishing activities while enabling them to stay alert. We continue to advise consumers to be aware of malicious activities and schemes while practicing caution when sensitive and personal information is requested."
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