Indian workers in UAE warned about telecom scams

Dubai: Indian workers have been warned about telecom scams to which many have fallen prey in the UAE.

The workers are being sensitised about phone scams through awareness campaigns conducted by the Indian Workers Resource Centre (IWRC). Around 250 workers were briefed about these scams at an awareness campaign held in Dubai on Tuesday night.

Led by Navdeep Singh Suri, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, the campaign was held at the Petron Emirates accommodation in Dubai Investment Park 2.

“Each and every camp we visit, there are at least a few workers seeking help related to phone scams,” Anish Chaudhary, manager, IWRC Dubai, told Gulf News after the event. “A lot of people are going to the consulate also.”

He said unscrupulous agents selling postpaid connection to low-paid workers and impostors taking SIM connections in the names of innocent workers have landed many workers in trouble.

“There are some cases where postpaid plans were sold to workers who do not earn the salary required to get such plans. Some fraudsters are doing this after taking gullible workers into confidence that they don’t have to pay rent and they have a lot of call benefits. “In one case, a worker’s plan was upgraded to VIP whereas he didn’t even have online access.”

However, workers run into trouble when they are sent bills with rentals and additional call charges. In another type of phone scam, fraudsters are misusing the documents of workers to take multiple SIM connections in the latter’s names.

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“It is only when they get calls from the telecom companies asking them to pay the bills that workers get to know there are other numbers in their names,” said Chaudhary.

Victims of such scams have had to run from pillar to post to get waiver for the bills that have piled up in their names. During the awareness drive, which was livestreamed on Facebook, workers were told to be vigilant against such scams.

“We urge them to go to the authorized business centers of telecom companies in malls and established locations to take phone connections.” Workers were told to write down the purpose of providing copies of their documents like passport and Emirates ID on those copies so that misusing them can be minimized or tracked down in future.

“If they are not in a position to verify the authenticity of telecom agents, they need to check with their service provider. They should also check periodically if there are any additional connections taken in their names. Whenever they suspect any fraudulent activity, we urge them to contact the authorities immediately,” said Chaudhary.

Warning against bringing banned medicines. The campaign also addressed the dangers of bringing restricted or banned prescription medicines to the UAE from India.

Though there have been only a few cases of Indians being jailed for bringing in banned medicines to the UAE, Chaudhary said the severity of the consequence has made it an issue of big concern.

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Recently, the Indian media highlighted the concerns of workers serving long jail terms for bringing in painkillers that are banned in the UAE.

Neeraj Rakesh, a financial counsellor, also educated the workers about debit and credit card scams and the need to protect the details of their cards, especially the CVV number.

An expert from Alcoholics Anonymous educated them about the need to stay away from bad habits like consuming alcohol which can be in violation of the local rules and can harm their health and job and the help available.

Suri said the awareness campaigns address various issues being faced by Indian workers and advise them to seek the help of IWRC through its toll-free number 800 INDIA (80046342) when they face any problems.

“We have created a composite package to be taken to different labour camps and bond with the labour community [through these campaigns].”

He reminded the workers about the need for living a healthy life, having financial discipline and saving habits and to be employed through authorised channels including approved recruitment agents and the government’s online portal, www.emigrate.gov.in.

A free medical camp for workers was also held in partnership with Aster.

Source Credit: Gulf News

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