UAE fraud fears

Credit and debit card fraud in the Emirates costing $54 million a year

Credit and debit card fraud is predicted to cost the UAE banking industry $54 million in 2009 - a rise of 20 percent over last year, it was reported on Tuesday.

The rise was largely due to the ongoing economic crisis, Asanka Amarasekara, national head of fraud control and authorisation at Dunia Finance in Abu Dhabi, said.

In comments published by Emirates Business, Amarasekara said: "As far as the UAE is concerned, we've been observing a year-on-year loss of $45m and due to the crisis, it is expected to increase by 20 percent. This is what is estimated."

According to the figures from international payment card schemes, the estimated worldwide loss due to fraud on credit cards stands at $10 billion this year," he told the paper.

The figure included losses on credit, debit and charge cards due to fraud and did not include defaults or retail loans.

Amarasekara said there had also been a sharp rise in the number of documents forged by customers, while applying for loans, due to a lack of credit in recent months.

"Since the beginning of the year, we've seen a 60 percent rise in [forged documents] and this is not only in the UAE, but also across the Middle East.

"Due to the crisis, many people in the region are planning to leave and go back to their home countries without paying their dues," he said.

Dunia Finance is a partnership between Mubadala, Al Waha Capital, AA Al Moosa Enterprises and Fullerton Financial Holdings.

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