Do More to Curb Credit Card Fraud

DUBAI - There is a need for special legislation and tougher measures to curb electronic and credit card fraud, which caused more than $700 million worth of losses to financial institutions across the world last year, said a top officer from Dubai Police.


Amira Agarib

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Published: Thu 29 Jan 2009, 1:44 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:43 AM

Major-General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, suggested introduction of pin codes in order to prevent credit card fraud.

Al Mazeina made the recommendations on Tuesday during a symposium organised by Dubai Police’s Decision-Making Centre on Security of Electronic and Financial Transactions.

Also present at the symposium were UAE Central Bank representatives and Dubai Police officers responsible for tackling electronic crimes.

Al Mazeina said that laws in the UAE had specified penalties for electronic crimes and fraud, “but we still need stricter punishment in order to prevent such crimes.”

He urged the financial institutions and banks to implement the pin code system for credit cards and ATM machines, not only for money withdrawal but also for purchase of goods from commercial establishments. They should put an electronic chip, which could allow changing of pin code, especially in the UAE where the use of using credit cards is quite common.

According to him, in Dubai alone, there were 65 cases of credit card fraud in 2008 – double of what were recorded in the previous year. However, forgery cases, dropped from 876 in 2007 to 523 last year. He added that the law-enforcement authorities in the UAE were upgrading the skills of their staff to carry out e-fraud investigations and bring the criminals to book.

The use of advanced technology by fraudsters has also prompted law-enforcement authorities to look at upgrading their own technology being used to combat crimes.

Abdul Rahman Obaidalla, Director of Anti-Crimes Department, said that in some cases the criminals had stolen the credit cards from mailboxes after they were mailed by the banks.

Some commercial shops use renderers to tamper with credit cards, or install hi-tech cameras on ATM machines, or forge documents to obtain credit cards.

Major-General Farouq Mansour, former assistant undersecretary in the Egyptian Ministry of Interior, said that along with stricter punishment, more advanced technology was needed to prevent currency and credit card forgery. He said that UAE has been using advanced technology to prevent forgery of UAE currency.

To prevent credit card crimes, UAE should go in for a smart card, which includes a processor that enables creation of different pin codes. For online purchase, special credit cards should be introduced, he added.

Al Mazeina stated that Dubai Police had, in the recent past, cracked a number of electronic crimes, the most recent being the one in which a person succeeded in stealing the account number of a person after he read a letter sent to him by his bank. He then transferred Dh350,000 from the account to another bank account in another country.

He further stated that some people had withdrawn cash from others’ accounts by taking advantage of the security loopholes, after which the UAE Central Bank instructed banks in the country to change the security code of the clients or to change the account numbers.

Al Mazeina said that last year, some fraudsters had carried out fraudulent withdrawals overseas after duplicating the credit cards of UAE nationals who had travelled to certain countries. Thereafter, the banks ceased their credit card transactions in those countries.

Recently, the police also seized several small cameras that were found installed at ATM machines.

He said that some fraudsters were found to have inserted a sticky plaster inside the ATM machine slot, as a result of which the ATM user’s card would get stuck. A gang member, who would be hanging out nearby, would then offer help and in the process get to know the user’s pin number. Later, he would tell the card user that the bank might have withdrawn the card.

However, when the user goes away, the gang member would withdraw all money.

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