x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Banks told to increase fraud security

Banks need to be more cautious in carrying out transactions, police say.

DUBAI // Police have warned of a new type of bank fraud, one which has resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases. Banks need to be more cautious in carrying out transactions, police say.

The fraud begins when the criminal obtains a victim's bank information. Assuming the victim's identity, the fraudster fills out a fund-transfer request form and mails it to a local bank to be processed. The bank sends the victim's money to an account overseas. This account may bear the victim's name but he knows nothing about it; it belongs to the criminal. This sort of crime began to appear last year said Aqeel al Najjar, who heads the police forensic and criminology department's document checking section. Some cases involved more than US$200,000 (Dh735,000), he said.

The department investigated 40 money transfer requests last year and the result was 28 fraud cases. Another eight such requests have been investigated this year.

"Several people have fallen victim to this new kind of fraud and were shocked to discover that large amounts of money had been withdrawn," said Mona Salem al Suwaidi, a forensic expert in the document checking department.

"Banks need to be more cautious when processing such applications and call clients to double-check the request to prevent such acts."

Another closely connected criminal trend also started developing last year. This involves fraudulently obtaining credit cards from banks by submitting a victim's passport and signing security cheques with a forgery of the passport holder's signature.

The document checking department investigated 29 such applications last year which resulted in the discovery of 13 fraudulent credit cards. Nine cases have been investigated so far this year.

wissa@thenational.ae