Credit card fraud in Turkey



TWO months after I returned from a trip to Turkey, my Saudi bank gave me a surprise. It sent me an automated message notifying that a certain amount was debited to my credit card from Turkey.

The amount was reimbursed earlier as tax deduction by a Tax Department official in that country. But it was debited to my credit card again without giving any reason.

Meanwhile, a number of transactions were debited to my wife’s credit card although she had not made any purchases during our trip.

The bills were for an important store in Istanbul, which she had dealt with previously. I think this store has technology to debit amounts to credit cards whenever it chooses and for whatever reason.

To avoid getting billed in future, we cancelled our credit cards and obtained new ones. We complained to the mother company through the Saudi bank as well.

This is not the point, however. The point that I want to raise here is that such scams are happening more often, especially with Saudis traveling abroad. The best proof of this is the number of complaints Saudi banks are receiving on a daily basis from their customers.

The money debited to credit cards without any justifications is nothing but theft. But why are these fraudsters targeting Saudis specifically? Is this because the Saudi people are negligent and tolerant by nature? Or is it because the Turkish and Qatari media are projecting Saudis as an evil people, which then is reflected in the way the Turkish people deal with them?

I do not know what exactly is the reason for this mistreatment, but it is sad that this happens in a Muslim country with a reputation for tourism. If major stores are not afraid of committing fraud against tourists, then it only means the tourism authorities in Turkey are lenient and careless, and this will damage their reputation as a major global tourism destination.

The safety and security of tourists is quite important for any country. A tourist does not feel safe when he is exposed to this kind of fraud or is exploited by businessmen who increase their prices for no reason at coffee shops, restaurants and hotels.

Is this the thanks Saudi people who revitalized the real estate market in Turkey by pumping money to buy properties and rent housing units get back from the people of that country? Their investment is reviving the Turkish economy. Is the Turkish government going to take care of this problem or will it allow the situation to escalate? As long as Saudi tourists do not feel safe in Turkey, they should stop visiting that country. There are many other travel options for Saudis.