National Fraud Awareness Campaign extends

Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE), UAE Banks Federation (UBF), Abu Dhabi Police, Dubai Police, and Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) have announced today the extension of the successful Fraud Awareness Campaign, which was launched in April last year and ran throughout 2020 as the UAE’s first national fraud awareness campaign.  This joint initiative gained significant traction with citizens and residents across the UAE.

The initiative, which aims to educate customers to protect themselves from financial cybercrime and fraud, particularly in light of the increased use of digital banking services during COVID-19 pandemic, has been extended for a period of one year, till the end of 2021.

Under the theme #TogetherAgainstFraud, this National Fraud Awareness Campaign will, in its second year, continue to encourage people to fight fraud with facts, and to remain vigilant against fraud of different types.  Through multimedia content; including articles, educational videos, and social media posts, the campaign will raise customer awareness on how to identify scams and avoid them.

In the past few years, the global banking landscape has transformed rapidly, with physical branch networks shrinking and volume of digital payments increasing.  While COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated that transformation, fraudsters across the world are creatively finding new ways to steal from banks and customers.  This has prompted CBUAE, UBF, Abu Dhabi Police, Dubai Police, and Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority to extend this UAE’s National Fraud Awareness campaign, which has been running strongly across social media channels with support from UBF’s Fraud Prevention Committee and all UBF members.

This joint initiative focuses on different topics or awareness every month.  Such topics include email fraud, social engineering, phone fraud, advance fee scam, business email compromise, digital banking safety, e-Commerce security, and, among others, social media privacy.

H.E. Khaled Mohamed Balama, Governor of the Central Bank of the UAE, said: “The extension of the national awareness campaign against financial fraud reflects the concerned authorities’ commitment to continue raising public awareness about fraud activities and their methods to protect consumers and the financial system from the threats posed by financial crimes. The increasing reliance on digital payments during Covid-19 pandemic has led to the rise of financial fraud activities also posed challenges to the banking sector, which called for joint efforts of the competent authorities to limit financial and cyber-crimes.

H.E. added: “Through together-against-fraud campaign, the Central Bank in cooperation with the participating authorities will continue to issue a series of educational guidelines and initiatives to help community members identify scam methods and raise their security awareness.  H.E. also called on the public to stay alert against fraudulent activities through phone calls and messages and stressed the importance of not disclosing personal and banking information to any person or entity, and to inform the relevant authorities as soon as suspicious communications are received.”

Commenting on the campaign, H.E. AbdulAziz Al-Ghurair, Chairman of UAE Banks Federation, said: “UAE is a regional leader in digital adoption and e-Commerce payments, and COVID-19 pandemic accelerated that trend. Safety regulations and physical restrictions acted as a catalyst for transactions to move from malls to mobiles. However, the ensuing uncertainty has provided a fertile environment for cybercrime. While technology has helped our UBF member banks and their customers with tools for business continuity, it remains a double-edged sword with cybercriminals and attackers using ever more sophisticated tools.  In such scenarios, customer awareness and education play a critical role”.

H.E. Chairman Al-Ghurair also added and said: “the extension of our joint campaign is a step in the right direction. We must remain a few steps ahead of fraudsters, which can only be achieved if we continue to work together, and on behalf of UBF, I would like to thank Central Bank of the UAE, Abu Dhabi Police, Dubai Police, TDRA, and all UBF members for their continued support and collaboration in achieving our aim of having for everyone in the UAE be aware, agile, and alert against the risk of financial fraud.”

H.E. Major General Maktoum Ali Al-Sharifi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Police, praised the joint coordination and cooperation with UAE Banks Federation, Central Bank of the UAE, Dubai Police, and Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority, for their support to achieve the goals and aspirations of UAE government in raising public awareness of the dangers of cybercrime through #TogetherAgainstFraud campaign.

He also stressed on Abu Dhabi Police’s keenness to confront cybercrime, which is considered one of the crimes in the future, which requires strengthening efforts and intensifying work with all partners to reduce this type of crime and tighten the screws on fraudsters, seize them and confront their renewed criminal methods with advanced security precautionary measures. Abu Dhabi Police have recently detected several methods that fraudsters follow them over the phone to lure their victims and seize their bank data, including making contact with victims, claiming that the victim has won false prizes and large sums of money belonging to well-known organizations, and the victim is asked to update his or her bank data and provide security numbers of his credit cards.

Director General of Abu Dhabi Police urged the public not to share any confidential information, such as account numbers, bank card numbers, passwords, personal identification codes, and the security codes on the back of the card, and not to respond to calls and deceptive messages, and to promptly report them by contacting Aman service on 8002626 or send a text message to Number 2828 and visit the website.

H.E. Major General Khalil Ibrahim Al-Mansoori, Assistant Commander-in-Chief of Criminal Investigation Affairs in Dubai Police, confirmed that participation in this awareness campaign comes within the strategy of Dubai Police, which is consistent with the strategic objectives of the Ministry of Interiors that aims at enhancing security and safety by having awareness initiatives throughout the year in cooperation with strategic partners, with the aim of educating society members of various methods of crimes. And, he added that the Criminal Investigation Sector, according to the directives of H.E. Lieutenant General Abdullah Khalifa Al-Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, is keen to launch several awareness campaigns on various methods of crimes, to achieve a zero crime index in the Emirate. He also requested community members not to hesitate to inform Dubai Police of any electronic fraud they might be exposed to, by filing a report via “ecrime” electronic platform through smartphones and/or Dubai Police website, stressing on the importance of not yielding to trolls and fraudsters’ requests, or sending money or submitting to their extortion in any form, and to request immediate assistance from the Police to take necessary action.

Engineer Mohamed Al-Saadi, Manager – Telecom Networks Operations at Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority, said: “Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority is keen to support all initiatives aimed to enhance digital services and quality of citizens, residents and visitors’ lives, through the development and diversification of services, which requires the development of governance procedures to ensure public safety system for society, especially in light with the rapid global developments in communications, information sector and related technologies, and the high demand of banking sector’s services.

“Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority is working to support all initiatives aimed at enhancing digital services, in cooperation with its strategic partners, and is keen to take all proactive measures that ensure the highest levels of protection and safety for all vital sectors in the country, including the banking sector, in a way that will positively affect The confidence of dealers in this sector, and it devotes the leading position that the UAE plays as a global foreign capital’s direction and investment that is looking for attractive markets with the highest levels of technical development, reliability and safety.” Al-Saadi, added.