On Sunday, police in Dubai issued a new alert to residents to keep themselves protected from scammers and to avoid sharing their Personal Identification Number (PIN) and debit or credit card numbers. On their official account on Twitter, Dubai Police warned residents not to be fooled by new scams that attempt to trick them out of money with fraudulent prizes. Digital platforms have made it considerably simpler for users to communicate and spread information all over the world, but this online convenience has come with a dark side – that being the increasing number of people who are exposed to scammers. The tactic popularly referred to as “phishing” sees scammers seize control of the bank account of their victim by tricking users into providing them with their personal details with the offer of fake prizes. Sometimes, they may even persuade them to give them money by posing as a government office, retailer or some other legitimate company. 

The good news is that there are a number of ways that people can protect themselves from the threat of scammers, and the major banks in the United Arab Emirates have followed up on the warning from Dubai Police by providing a few easy methods to ensure that online transactions remain safe. One important tip is to treat your credit card in the same way that you would physical money, and never leave it unattended in a public place. In the same way, when you do go out, you should only take with you the cards that you are actually going to need – something that is particularly recommended when you are travelling outside of your normal area. A Travel card is an excellent security precaution, as it can be used as a prepaid card for the purpose of expenses when travelling. Money can be added to the card when it runs out, and it has no direct link to your bank account. 

UAE banks think that it is a good idea that you sign the back of any new credit card the moment that you come into possession of it. Ensure that card numbers, customer care numbers and expiration dates are clearly recorded and kept somewhere safe. These numbers and dates can be invaluable in the event that a credit card is lost or stolen and you need to report it. 

Banks in the UAE have also recommended to their customers that they act immediately if they have any suspicion of fraudulent activity. If you suspect that a scammer is posing as your bank, then you should notify your real bank as soon as possible. Online banking passwords should be changed on a frequent basis and should be strong alphanumeric codes. Look for secure connections when visiting websites and avoid any sites that seem suspicious. Secure connections can usually be identified by the presence of a green area within the address bar, together with the URL possessing the “https” prefix. You should also regularly monitor your UAE bank transactions, and if you spot any irregularities, report them to your bank immediately. 

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