UAE residents have been warned against an increase in fraudulent activities since the onset of the Covid-19 coronavirus, especially scams related to advance fee and cloning of genuine companies based in Dubai.
The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has alerted the community in this regard, warning that fraudsters first demand a small amount of money in the hope of getting a significantly larger amount later.
The small amounts of money are for all sorts of fake advance fees such as false customs, duties, taxes, or even bribes. The access to the large amount of money is, of course, never realised.
Citing a recent fraud, DFSA said an individual, in this case, from South Korea was contacted by the scammers and advised that he had won a prize. He was sent a document confirming the prize. The individual was told that he would have to pay $2,820 (Dh10,400) for a 'certificate of fund origin' in order to collect the prize.He paid the amount and obtained a fake official receipt which also falsely bore the DFSA's logo. The individual then attempted to present the prize document to the DFSA's reception desk to collect his prize, only to be told that the document was fake and that there was no prize waiting for him.
Another common type of scam is where a genuine DFSA-licensed Financial Services company is cloned. This means that the scammers steal the identity of the genuine company by, for example, creating a fake website.
The fake website looks identical to the real website of the genuine company, but the modes to contact the firm are changed so that emails, messages or telephone calls from investors are diverted to the scammers and not the genuine firm.
"Scammers will request to meet potential investors outside of an office, such as a coffee shop, in order to make them seem legitimate. Scammers who clone genuine DFSA-licensed firms will, however, often make mistakes when creating a fake website. Many of these mistakes are easily spotted and are an indication that the website is fake, if you look carefully," the regulator said in its latest alert and advisory for the public.
The regulator advised UAE residents and finance professionals not to respond to scammers, and under no circumstances should you send or give any money to any party in connection with a scam.