UAE: 33 expats held over phone text message scam

SMS being sent over the region advertising fake offer.
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The Dubai Police have arrested 33 Asians in separate raids on their hideouts in Deira and a neighbouring emirate, who defrauded people by promising them bogus cash prizes after claiming to be working for UAE telecommunication companies.

They would send text messages to residents, claiming they had won “huge cash prizes”. After the victims fell into the fake prize trap, the suspects would defraud them by asking them to transfer cash to “claim the prize”.

The gangs were operating out of Dubai and Ajman, the police said.

Brigadier Saeed Hamad Bin Sulaiman, director of the Rashidiya police station, said the police received information that many Asians were visiting a flat in Deira and that their activities were suspicious.

After confirming the information, the police’s anti-economic crimes team and officers from the Rashidiya police station swung into action and raided the apartment. After 14 people were arrested, it emerged then that the scam was being executed from the flat. The police seized 90 phones and 70 SIM cards from them.

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The police also received a tip-off that another gang based in Ajman was involved in a similar fraud. The Dubai cops coordinated with the Ajman Police to raid the flat. The operation resulted in the arrest of 19 suspects.

Colonel Omar bin Hammad, director of the anti-economic crimes department, said most of the suspects were in the country on visit visas. They would call up residents and inform them that they had won a huge cash prize. To claim the prize, the unsuspecting victims were asked to transfer some cash.

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“When the police analysed the data on the gang members’ phones, it emerged that they had used different templates to send out the bogus text messages,” said Col Hammad.

From January till May 31, the Rashidya police station recorded 12 such cases, and the total amount of cash embezzled touched Dh780,000.

“Despite the police’s efforts to spread awareness about such gangs, residents continue to be tricked by them. People need to understand that if they have won prizes, the prize giving entity wouldn’t ask for cash; they would merely ask the winners to come and collect the prizes,” he added.

The officer urged the public to report suspicious activities to 901.


Source Credit: Khaleej Times


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