Safa’a Zaman, the President of the Information Security Association faulted inadequate legislation and laws for the rise in fraud and electronic scams. Zaman stated that a lack of awareness and unfamiliarity with modern hacking techniques makes individuals susceptible to exploitation by cyber criminals and fraudsters.
Zaman told Al-Qabas daily, that various fraudulent methods employed by scammers, including the impersonation of shipping and delivery companies’ accounts, deceptive practices related to fake investments and digital currency trading, and the impersonation of reputable investment firms to deceive and gain the trust of potential victims.
The Information Security Association President elaborated on prominent scam tactics, such as posing as bank employees pressuring victims to disclose sensitive information under the guise of updating data or ensuring account continuity, while at the same time pointing out that phishing attacks using fake websites with enticing advertisements, luring individuals to input sensitive information before revealing the site’s illegitimacy and cautioning against future mistakes.
In light of growing concerns from authorities about electronic fraud due to interactions with dubious messages or websites, Zaman emphasized that hacking and electronic crimes pose significant obstacles to digital transformation. She observed a surge in innovative financial fraud methods, particularly in Kuwait, leading to widespread dissatisfaction across various social media platforms.
Zaman attributed the rise in fraud to several factors, including compromised privacy and easy access to data. She pointed out the absence of laws criminalizing entities requesting citizens’ and residents’ data without legal protection against leaks.
Additionally, Zaman mentioned the impact of social networking applications and certain companies trading user data. She cited terminated licenses of insurance companies and employees clandestinely selling data for profit.
Zaman explained that weak legislation, numerous loopholes, and legislative gaps concerning modern technologies in financial transactions contribute to the proliferation of financial fraud. The use of vulnerable technologies with security gaps further facilitates easy and convenient data acquisition.
She criticized the failure of some government agencies and the private sector to update security applications to address vulnerabilities, contrasting with the advancement of hacking methods and the integration of artificial intelligence, making hacking more accessible and widespread.
Factors that help spread electronic fraud:
- Weak legislation keeping pace with modern technologies
- There are gaps in some electronic applications
- Using artificial intelligence in hacking
- The authorities’ failure to update their security applications
- Easy access to personal data
Safaa Zaman explained that the Gulf countries have become fertile ground for financial fraud crimes, especially with the development of technology, which makes it impossible to predict new methods of fraud, to the point that these crimes have become an obsession for governments and international systems.
She touched on a study prepared by Naif Arab University for Security Sciences, in cooperation with the Interpol, which showed, through analysis of 503 fraudulent advertisements, that the number of daily visits from potential victims of these fraudulent sites exceeds 137 thousand per day only from all Arab countries.
She pointed to new research issued by Juniper Research, which showed that the total losses resulting from fraudulent operations through electronic payment around the world will exceed $343 billion during the next five years. The study also showed that the estimated losses due to fraudulent operations through electronic payment are equivalent to more than 350 per cent of Apple’s net income in 2021.
Zaman said according to a report by the Financial Times, the Corona pandemic was a fertile environment for fraudsters, as Mark Steward, Director of Enforcement at the Financial Regulatory Authority in the United Kingdom, confirmed that the number of fraud alerts issued by the Financial Conduct Authority in 2020 was twice the level seen in 2019.
She touched on a recent survey by the Ipsos Research Foundation, commissioned by Wells Fargo, a financial services company, about alarming statistics regarding the spread of online financial fraud and cyber crime among Americans.
The survey, which was conducted from September 15 to 18, 2023, captured the opinions of 1,005 people, aged 18 and over, across the United States, Alaska and Hawaii. The results showed that nearly one in three Americans (31%) have been directly affected by online financial fraud or cyber crime.
It also showed that individuals aged 35 to 54 years reported the highest percentage of exposure to fraud was 36%, closely followed by those aged 55 years and above (34%), while participants aged 18 to 34 years represented 22 percent of victims.
The most common form of financial cyber crime reported was credit card fraud, affecting approximately 64% of those who fall prey to online fraud. Additionally, data breaches (32%) and account compromises (31%) were observed. Online banking fraud (23%) and phishing attempts (14%) are common forms of cyber crime that Americans experience.