According to a recent survey of dubizzle users regarding cyber crime, 36% of online users in the UAE have never heard the term ‘phishing scam’. Of those that have heard of the term, a quarter don’t know what it means.
Phishing is an attempt to acquire users’ information – usually through emails or social media – by masquerading as a legitimate entity. The victim is tricked into giving out personal information, such as bank details, which cyber criminals then use to steal identities or take money from bank accounts.
Since 2015 there have been 11,500 information security breaches in the UAE and GCC region. This includes in members states of the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. However, the number could be much higher as it’s estimated that a third of people don’t report the crime.
Email scam warning
Another popular scam is where the email sender or caller pretends they work in a bank and informs the victim that they are due some money from a deceased relative.
Etisalat, a UAE-based telecommunications company, recently warned its customers about scammers trying to steal personal details through a phishing email. The email subject was “Your Etisalat online bills is ready to be viewed”, and the body asked customers to click a link to view their statement. The email signature was “from Etisalat Online Service Team”, but Etisalat warned its customers never to open this email or to click any link.
Credit card scams also a major threat in the UAE
Many people in the UAE fall victim to credit card scams, but only discover this after the damage has been done.
If you think your credit card information has been stolen, you need to keep an eye on the transactions being made, as criminals tend to test the card details with a small transaction first. If you contact your card provider before too much damage is done, you can minimise the risk to your finances.
Chip-and-PIN technology makes card crime more difficult, and it’s now more frequently the card issuer’s liability when credit card scams occur. But there are thousands of exceptions across our region when customer cards and PINs are compromised. In these cases, the customer is liable.
Why do people fall for these scams?
You must be wondering why people fall for these scams. Well, the criminals are very clever and persuasive, posing as real employees, sellers or buyers, and often adding a sense of urgency to make the victim feel like they need to act quickly.
This increases the risk of people sharing personal information without thinking about the consequences. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Reduce your security risk exposure
Information security should be a key concern for you and your organisation. Keep cyber security at the top of your agenda and always be on the lookout for new risks. Phishing and ransomware are a huge threat, and employing anti-cryptomining security should also be on your to-do list.
It’s also vital that staff are aware of the cyber security risks your organisation faces. This can be achieved through a phishing and ransomware e-learning course, which will educate employees on the daily cyber risks they face and suggest actions and procedures to mitigate such risks.