Dubai: 14-member gang caught for ‘fake cash prize’ racket

The Dubai Police have arrested a 14-member gang of Asians who were sending text messages in the name of some of the country’s major stores to convince their targets that they had won huge cash prizes. After the victims fell into the fake prize trap, they would defraud them by asking them to transfer cash to “claim the prize”.

Acting on a tip-off, the anti-economic crimes team swung into action and on April 30, raided an apartment located in Hor Al Anz, from where the prize scam was being executed.

They arrested all the gang members, and seized 90 phones, massive amounts of money and a large number of illegal local calling cards from the place, revealed Brigadier Salem Khalifa Al-Rumaithi, director of criminal investigation department.

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Colonel Omar bin Hammad, director of anti-economic crimes department, said all members of the gang entered the country on visit visas and a person who could speak Arabic fluently was the mastermind.

They chose a mobile number and targeted its owner. One fraudster would speak with the victim in English and then transfer the call to the gang’s mastermind, who would talk to the person in Arabic to make it all appear real, Hammad said.

He added the police analysed the data on the gang members’ phones and it emerged that they had used different templates in the messages and various methods while contacting the victims. The probe showed that after getting the bank account number of the victim, the gang members carried out purchases from the websites.

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In one of the instances, they bought six mobile phones from a victim’s account and the amount was deduced without his knowledge. The police and the bank contacted the websites which sold the phones and stopped the transaction. The police also got in touch with the victim, who was surprised by the fraud, and the deducted money was returned to his account.

Major General Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, assistant commander-in-chief of the Dubai Police for Criminal Investigation Affairs, praised the prompt response of the Dubai Police while monitoring and following up complaints. He cautioned people not to disclose their bank account details to anyone so that they are not exposed to any fraud.

 

Source Credit: Khaleej Times

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