What Should You Know About Financial Fraud

Computer used in credit card scam Photo by leaf - yayimages.com

You might not be aware, but professional scam artists are always searching for new and improved ways to exploit the latest technology to their advantage. Setting up skimmers at ATMs, sending phishing emails, hacking into computers and the latest outbreak - ransomware are just a few examples of how financial fraud is employed throughout the world, but represents only a small percentage of the many other types of scams that besiege us every day.  

Of all the financial resources that fraudsters try to access, credit card fraud takes center stage. Every year, thousands of people around the world fall prey to credit card fraud. And the statistics are climbing. According to the latest data, about
1 in 10 individuals in the country report of a fraudulent credit card transaction. The worst part is that the fraudster’s actions come to light only after they have committed their crime and have subsequently disappeared into the night.

In this article, we will focus on the Middle-East, namely the United Arab Emirates, but the examples here can be perpetrated by criminals mostly anywhere. In the UAE and other Middle-Eastern countries, it is expatriates who consistently fall victim to financial fraud. One case history was Indian expatriate Prashanth Thyagarajan, who said that his wife had received a letter from the bank advising that her credit card number was used to purchase DH 4,500 (US$1,225) worth of goods from a supermarket. It is believed that the fraudsters had gotten hold of their credit card after the couple had booked a hotel and hired a car in the Dubai area. Luckily, this transaction occurred in a famous supermarket chain headquartered in France and the couple was refunded the amount later in the afternoon. But it was an eye opener for them and indicative of the how easily people can fall victim to financial fraud.

Another situation aroused when a man who came to visit with his family used his credit card at the hotel he was staying at and when they got back to their homeland (in this case, the United States), there were three unauthorized transactions totaling over $1200. Although this is only one example, it is representative of the prevailing scams that innocent people are subjected to thousands of times each day around the world.

And then there is Internet fraud. According to Scam Watch, there was over $85,000,000 in fraudulent scams in 2016 via the Internet. Most of these fraudulent activities occurred by email phishing scams, computer spyware and computer hacking.

In most of the credit card fraud cases, the amount is blocked by the financial institutions. But it does not happen all of the time. In several cases, the individuals must part with their hard-earned cash.

How does Credit Fraud Occur in the UAE

The credit card fraud originates when the criminals impersonate a registered company online. An email is sent to the individual asking to provide confidential information such as name, address, national ID number, bank account number, and credit card. The emails may ask the target individual to update the profile at the site or for verification purposes.

Phishing emails are sent to a targeted group of individuals asking them to enter the confidential information for verification purposes. Armed with this information, the cyber criminals commit identity theft and credit card fraud.

A Word of Travel Advice

Individuals traveling within the US or abroad are advised to take special precautions when entering information on any of the local computers or your laptop, tablet or cell one that is connected to Wi-Fi. If you are using a computer connected via Wi-Fi in a public place, do not go into any websites that require personal logins, such as banking sites. Do not purchase any items over the web where you have to put in your credit card or debit card or personal information, such as your birthday or social security number. This applies not just in a hotel or local restaurant or vendor who has Wi-Fi, but at any hot spots, such as airports, train and bus stations to name a few. If you go to an ATM, cover the keypad when you enter your personal ID code to avoid the skimmers.

If you do notice something awry, it is important that you immediately report this activity to the bank an legal authorities immediately. Taking quick action can prevent further abuse of the credit card or bank accounts. And it is essential that you request to cancel the fraudulent transactions and the card it was used on.

You should ask for a refund from the bank even if the cybercriminal has depleted your account and eloped with the stolen goods. Remember that your bank is responsible for the security of the cards. So, you have the right to retrieve your money from the bank and they should have taken the necessary steps to block any further transactions. As long as you report the theft to your card issuer in a timely manner, you will not be held liable for the money lost and your funds will be returned within a week or two.

Note to customers who have business accounts: You don't have the same legal protection as consumers who have personal accounts and you may have a harder time retrieving your money. In this case, getting the assistance from an attorney may help in obtaining the financial compensation for the loss your business suffered.


The Trading Scam that Has Rocked the City of Dubai

A trading scam that recently hit the city of Dubai left a trail of havoc behind. More than 1,000 fake checks resulted in losses of US$ 2.18 million (Dh8 million) for 46 companies located in the UAE. Most of the companies that have been hit by the scam have been operating in Dubai for decades, but they fell to the bait set by the fraudsters hook, line, and sinker.  

Operating from an office in Burj Dubai, a company that had registered as Xplore Far East Dubai used dud checks to buy good worth millions of dollars from various companies such as Ajman plastics firm in Sharjah, pipe fitting company in Abu Dhabi, and a Solar panel company in Dubai.

Background of the Million Dollar Trading Scam

The trading scam committed by Xplore Far East Dubai is the 20th such crime in the UAE. The latest trading scam, just two months after two fake companies – Reliance Group and Barnabio General Trading – deceived more than 100 trading firms of millions before disconnecting phones and disappearing out of the country.

Dubai Scammers

All the scammers use the same modus operandi. They pose as legitimate buyers, purchasing a few goods at first to gain the trust of their suppliers. Afterward, they give out post-dated checks to order a large number of goods, and finally, sell them at throwaway prices to third party firms. Before the checks are banked, they quickly turn off the phones and flee the country.

The same tactic was used in the recent trade scam conducted by Xplore Fareast Dubai leaving behind a trail of misery for dozens of companies. It looks like a storyline of a film with the same scripts but different casts. However, this time around the setting was more urbane.

An Ajman based cleaning equipment supplier had said that the conman had made payment of Dh30, 000 in full, but then they placed a three times bigger order. The company had made the delivery based on trust that was built on the first transaction, but it backfired.

The sales manager of another company that had delivered 430 items worth Dh 60,000 on the night before the dud check was due said that the damage could have been much larger if the company had followed through the initial order of 2,000 items.

All the victims said that the charade of Xplore’s staffs was so convincing that they had no way of telling they were pulling the wool over their eyes. The purchasing manager of the company was well spoken and he even showed the details including an Emirates ID. It was only when the staffs at Xplore failed to answer the calls after the checks had bounced did the duped companies realized about the magnitude of their losses.

Criminals Getting Away with the Booty

The authorities were successful in tracing the sold goods to two warehouses in Dubai. However, the local court rejected the application of the companies to stop the goods from being shipped due to lack of proper evidence.

The owner of the warehouse had said that the stolen goods were bought legally from a third party firm, which probably bought the goods from Xplore. So the companies can’t do anything to reclaim the goods.


Billions Lost in Health Care Fraud in the UAE

A study conducted by a consultancy group named Booz Allen Hamilton found that as much as US$1 billion (AED 3.67 billion) is being lost in health care fraud each year. Over-prescription of medicines has become a norm in the UAE as doctors receive a financial incentive for prescribing branded drugs.

The unprofessional actions  of the doctors lead to an increase in the health care insurance premiums that is borne by the residents. It is something that the regulators have not yet addressed and is leading to an unwanted increase in the health care costs.

According to the report, there is the practice of cost splitting as well where the doctors get a certain percentage of the total price. While these acts are not considered illegal, but doctors in public hospitals in the UAE are doing it at a large scale resulting in a great appreciation in medical bills for the patients.

Unneeded Prescription of Medications and Diagnostic Procedures

In the majority of cases, the ailments could have gone away without the prescription of the drug. Apart from increasing the overall medical costs, it also puts the life of the patients at danger of unwanted side effects.

What’s concerning is that the doctors are needlessly prescribing branded drugs instead of generic alternatives that are equally effective. The fact is that branded drugs cost 50 percent more as compared to the generic counterparts.

Apart from overprescribing, a large number of doctors working in public health care institutions in the UAE have been reported to use unnecessary procedures. For instance, it has been reported that as much as 30 percent of the diagnostic cost is being split between the doctors and the health care facilities.

The above factors have resulted in about 20 percent increase in the health care insurance premiums.

The worst-case scenarios consist of patients being sent to operations that they do not require only to gain additional revenues. These operations can put the patients at risk of injury and even death.

The problem is that the health ministry in the UAE has not taken concrete steps to prevent abuse in the health care systems. In fact, their silence over the matter implies tacit approval of the fraud being committed by the doctors.


Medical practitioners in the UAE are taking liberties in prescribing medicines and treatment plans at a scale that can only be described as criminal. The waste and abuse of the system by greedy doctors needs to be clamped down in the country.

The World Health Organization has reiterated that countries need to have strong financial and medical accountability to combat fraud and corruption in the healthcare sector. The incidence of health care fraud will increase if no firm and intensive efforts are taken by the regulators to eliminate the risk of fraud.

Individuals are advised to report to the health care insurer about the doctor's’ actions that seem to be fraudulent. Also, you should consider contacting a professional attorney, if you have suffered mentally, physically, or financially due to a medical procedure that was unwarranted for in the first place.


How to Avoid 'Magic Pen' Fraud in the UAE

In this high-tech era where cyber criminals steal confidential customer information online or defraud banks by using modified SWIFT transactions, the old fashioned method of fraud is still popular in the UAE.

Magic Pen Fraud in UAEPhoto by razihusin - yayimages.com

The fraudsters armed with a ‘magic pen’ - a pen wins erasable ink – are reportedly duping individuals of their hard earned cash stored in the bank. A number of incidents have been reported of check frauds in the Gulf country that are undergoing police investigations in the UAE. Banks have issued warnings to the customers to keep them on their toes about the check fraud. 

Pranksters are approached by the unsuspecting individuals as a salesperson or a customer services representative of a bank. They persuade the customers to buy the credit card or a loan product of the bank. In case the scamster is successful with the sales pitch, the customer is asked to complete a credit card or loan application.  Afterward, the customer is given a blank signed security check that the imposter fills up in the presence of the customer using a magic pen.

The details of the beneficiary, as well as the amount, are altered easily by the fraudster since they use a magic pen to fill in the details. The fraudster then checks in the cash from various banks using third parties.

One of the businessmen that was duped through the magic pen scam and who had asked not to be named said that a scamster had approached him and told him that he was a representative of a bank and offered him a much-needed loan facility.

The fraudster had taken all the documents from the individual and told him that he needed to sign a check for Dh 100,000 (US$27,226), and also needed to keep a minimum balance of the same amount.  The fraudster had given the check in the bank’s name, but later changed both the amount and the beneficiary details using a magic pen.

Steps to Avoid a Credit Card Scam in the UAE

Fraudsters that approach unwary individuals with a check and magic pen could appear in the form of insurance representatives, sales agents, bill collectors, and real estate agents. They may also appear as payment collection agents on behalf of a bank.

In order to avoid getting duped by the cyber criminals, it is important that you ask the representative to check the identity of the individual by viewing the photo ID that is issued by the bank. Moreover, you should never sign any blank security check using the pen given by the salesperson.  It’s important to use your own pen to fill in the details of the check including the amount and the name of the beneficiary.

Also, it’s important to contact the concerned bank on the landline to confirm the identity of the sales representative. The little extra effort on your part will ensure that you don’t fall prey to any prankster that want to dupe you out of your hard-earned cash that is securely stored in the bank.

Job Scammers in Dubai Can Steal all your Money

Dubai is booming day by day and so are the bad deeds, unfortunately. Reports about scamming are beccomming more common, resuting in job scams increasing by the day. Here’s how job scammers work in Dubai to cheat you.

Variations in Job Scamming

The thieves use different variations in the scam so that job seekers do not doubt their identity or truthfulness. Before we move on to the procedure, let us share some ways through which these job scammers in Dubai are fooling you.

Fake Job Posts

Are you among those who simply send your resumes or CVs without actually verifying the job posting? If yes, then you need to reconsider and beware and vigilant in this regard. You should always research about the company before taking such a step. Also, you should see if they really exist and are for real. Needy candidates are often fooled by such job scammers by taking advantage of their situation.

No Interviews for Jobs

Always remember that credible firms never hire candidates without conducting interviews. If you are looking for work in Dubai, then you cannot find a job without an interview. So, if you are getting one without an interview, then you need to think about it. Firms in Dubai are very strict about the recruiting process as they recruit candidates from all over the world. Thus, it is necessary for them to conduct interviews.

Filling a Questionnaire

A questionnaire asks for all your personal information and this is one of the best ways for the job scammers to steal your identity. These scammers often ask about your credit card details, passport details and some other details they think would be enough to swindle you. Thus, wait and think as it might be a red flag. Firms do not require your passport details ever but these scammers ask for it so that they can get your personal details.

No Contact Details

These job scammers often play with you by sending you emails from Gmail accounts but do not send you their contact details. If such is the case, then this is another red flag for you. Credible and reliable recruiters do not operate just like that; they send you all their contact details, business name and locations so that you can track them in Dubai. Always watch out for missing contact details as there are chances of you getting scammed.  

Fake Job Scamming Procedure

So, here’s the way these job scammers work in fooling foreigners.

First, they offer you a position and then send you a questionnaire, asking for personal information and passport details. Then, they copy information from the original website of the company they are posing to be. Next, they give you the offer letter declaring that you have been selected for the job and ask you to pay fees to a specific travel agency in Dubai to get the visa. After that, they will reimburse your fees. Here you need to think; companies recruit you on their own visa and any other visa is considered illegal by credible firms.

All foreigners need to be aware of such job scammers in Dubai as they can put you in a significant loss by stealing all your money.


Etisalat Phone Scams Increasing


Phone scams have become really common in the UAE, especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Either today or tomorrow, anyone can be a victim of it. Scammers come up with different ways and strategies every now and then as they know people are smart and know how they can cheat them; so they try continuously try out new methods, many more sophisticated than the last. They think that using the names of credible companies can help them cheat people. Normally, if we do rely on credible brands, these con artists can take advantage of that and misuse our trust, ultimately letting those brands down in front of us and making us feel like fools.

Similarly, con artists exploit the Etisalat name (Emirates Telecommunications Corporation) to make fake calls to people on winning prizes and draws. Here’s how they are on the rife nowadays.

What is the Procedure?

Con artists are using the same way to cheat innocent people as they have been using since these scams started to surface. They will usually call you from a local mobile number (that is only for outgoing calls) giving you a good news that you have won a huge prize from Etisalat’s lucky draw. When you will answer the call, they will ask you to call them back. These people have a good professional voice (tricks of the trade) and normally communicate in Arabic, Urdu or English.

On calling them back, they will ask you to claim the prize you wish to own. They usually ask you to buy anything which costs between 2,000-2,500 Dirhams from Etisalat prepaid cards. During this process, they also ask for your pin numbers. Next, they tell you to get your prize money from Dubai Islamic Bank or any other bank. Additionally, they will also quote the first 5 numbers on your SIM card.

In this manner, they are able to steal your phone credit that you have paid for. These scammers often fool you and tell you to take out your SIM card and put it in again and they give you 10 minutes to do so. Probably, they just want to put pressure on you. Furthermore, they resell the credit they got from you at a profit as Etisalat gives a discount on purchasing of bulk cards, ultimately stealing money from you and making money for themselves.

Precautions by Etisalat

Since the Etisalat phone scams are trending, the company has announced some precautionary measures for its valuable customers. They tell their customers to always think when the scammer calls them and tells them about the prize win. People should first think if they really entered themselves into a draw or not. Moreover, when the con artists tell the first 5 SIM card numbers, then they should know that usually all the SIM cards have the same first 5 numbers.

They further said that when scammers ask you to go to a bank to receive the prize, you should immediately understand that it is a fraud as an Etisalat representative will always tell you to visit their head office located in Abu Dhabi and not any of your nearest banks. Also, an Etisalat employee never asks you to transfer funds into an account to claim the prize you have won.

If you find anyone claiming to be giving fake Etisalat prizes, you must immediately call 101 to double check if this is a scam or not.



Street Scams Trending in UAE in a Variety of Ways

Are you in expat in Dubai or Abu Dhabi? Then you need to be very vigilant, as there are a variety of scams that are occurring in the UAE. Con artists are looking for every chance and opportunity to swindle expats and foreigners out of their money. According to sources, street scams are trending in a variety of ways.

Here are some fraudulent methods used by con artists that require you to be careful:


Three Card Monte

This game is played all over the world and is one of the most infamous scams known in most world cities. If you think it is just one person playing this game, you are mistaken. There is the dealer, the accomplice who plays the roll of the loser (so that you can get conned in) and the look out. 
Once you are convinced how easy this game is to win, the dealer uses - what amounts to some slick slight of hand card tricks, which will ensure t that you will lose every time.

Don't play this game. More important, don't respond to anyone about money when in the street! 
Click the image to learn more about the 3-Card Monte scam


Fake Injuries

Street scams are usually just another way of begging but it can happen to you in several ways. There have been many stories that are reported regarding such scams. Victims report that people approach them claiming a fake injury and beg for money to pay their hospital bills. They look so miserable and needy that they could force anyone to give them money out of sheer sympathy.

While this has become really common, everyone needs to be alert of scammers, as they could be nearby. Here is variety of ways chosen by these scammers to make you a fool and drain you of your finances.

Losing Money by Claiming Winnings

This is one of the most common ways in which scammers might attempt to defraud you. Scammers swindle you with phone calls. In this case, you may receive a phone call declaring that you won a huge amount through a lucky number. To claim your winnings, they will tell you to buy some prepaid card. On buying it, you will give them the chance to steal all your money and you will be left empty handed.

Missed Calls from International Numbers

Yes, the missed calls you think are from your loved ones are sadly from the scammers. Con artists usually give a brief call at night in such a way that you will be forced to call them back. On calling them back, they will inform you about the lottery or prize you won (which is obviously not true). Then, they will ask you to transfer a huge amount of money to have the prize along with your credit card and passport details. Ultimately, they steal all your money from you as well as your identity.

Knocking on the Door

In this method of scamming, females usually come and knock on doors of residences and start crying right in front of you, begging for any sort of help. It could be for the help of their children, husband, parents or anyone. Often, it is seen that such women hold a crying weak baby in hand to pull at your heartstrings. For this reason, it is always better to look through the peephole before opening the door in order to avoid them.

What You Should Do to Deal with Them?

These scammers are roaming everywhere in the UAE. Unfortunately, if you ever face such an issue, you should always protect yourself. Go to police station and report the crimes done by these scammers. If not, then you can directly visit the State Audit Institution to report about your fraud. Most importantly, the best way to avoid them is to be extra vigilant about these matters.


Greedy Family Tricked Innocents with a Cold Calling Scam in Dubai

Scammers and con artists are everywhere in the world and Dubai is no exception. Having some of the most beautiful landscapes and views, Dubai is a place where scamming of any type is on rife. Among the different types of scamming is cold calling, which has left a lot of people empty handed and in despair. Have a look how one group tricked innocent people through a cold calling scam in Dubai.   

Greedy and Fraudulent Family Tricked People by Stealing Thirteen Hundred Thousand Pounds from Them

Recently, sources reported that a fierce and greedy family tricked some innocent pensioners. They took £1,300,000 from them and proudly spent the money on watches, cars and designer bags. However, some day or the other, these con artists and scammers were bound to be caught as they could not spend their entire lives cheating people. So now, they are being jailed and are going to spend the rest of their lives in jail for twenty years.

A family posing as Visa advisers declared that they were targeted in a scam and phoned up people telling them to pay money into a bank account. The family also invited their own victim to redial their own bank’s fraud team in order to gain the trust of their potential victims. Approximately 42 people were fooled and encouraged to transfer their savings into a bank account. Having £1,300,000 transferred over, the fraudsters then spent money like water on luxury cars, expensive watches, trips abroad, handbags and clothes.

This vicious family declared that they have been involved in cold calling scams for the last two years. Unfortunately, the victims can never get their money back as the bank's view such incidents as the victim’s own fault. The judge reported that people who have been victims of such incidents were naïve and should be cautious and vigilant in the future.

Cold Calling Scam Trending

Foreigners are usually unfamiliar about the cold calling scam so those who do not know about it, should understand that cold calling is a way of making sales contact via email, phone or fax which you do not ask for. This practice is not a scam in real as it is just a sales promotional tool, but scammers just need to find variations of scamming and so, they opt for it.  

Con artists make initial calls in this form of scamming with intentions of stealing from them. Scammers usually call, email or fax, taking names of licensed firms and brands, which is completely illegal but they do so to gain your trust and making things legal for themselves. There was a case of a family which tricked innocent people and proudly lavished the millions of dollars on expensive items. Check out how they tricked them below. 

If you think that you are also getting scam calls and want to secure yourself from such con artists, you should directly report or call the nearest police station in Dubai before any mishap.


Financial scams in the UAE and how to avoid them

Many people consider the United Arab Emirates as a safe place to live. Since crime rate is relatively low in the UAE, this is somewhat true. However, a form of crime that transcends many people’s eyes in the UAE is financial scam. Examples of financial scams are rental scams that occur regularly in every UAE city including Dubai and Abu Dhabi. A classic example of this is the rental scam that made the headlines in 2012. The scam involved hundreds of rental-home seekers and homeowners. After scamming the residents of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the scammers fled the country with cash equaling millions of dollars.

The fraud was carried out by two foreign nationals who rented homes to tenants at ‘less-than’ market prices. The fraudsters took payments in the form of single cheques. On the other hand, they made written commitments to landlords to pay them an inflated rent. However, the payment would be made in four cheques rather than one—this is where the scam happened. Homeowners were able to cash in the first two cheques. However, the following cheques bounced. After scamming a good number of people, the scammers ran away from the UAE with rent cheques amounting to $ 2.5 million.

Another financial scam that robbed UAE residents of their hard-earned money was the home-based typing job that offered money in return for an initial deposit of AED 500 or US $150. Regardless of how fast they finished their work, the signees were paid US$ 50 at the end of each month. This way it took people three months just to break even.

On the other hand, the company owners made millions from thousands of signees in a short period of time. When the fraudsters had made enough, they shut down the company leaving the signees high and dry. Fortunately, the scammers were eventually caught and the money was recovered. However, fraudsters aren’t always caught. Therefore, adopting proactive measures to avoid them is important. So what are these proactive measures? The proactive measures include developing the ability to identify the aforementioned scammers.

The next question that you probably have in mind is how do I identify the financial scammers? There are two main mediums financial scammers in the UAE use to carry out their fraud. The two mediums include cold calling and phishing emails. Cold calling itself is not illegal. However, financial scammers use this medium to obtain information from you such as your email address or bank account/credit card detail so that they can hack it later on. Furthermore, they use your personal details to find out how much money they can extract out of you. You can avoid falling victim to cold calling fraud by not revealing your personal information to a cold caller.

Phishing emails are unsolicited emails from a financial institution that you receive in your inbox. An unsolicited email from a financial institution asking you to provide personal details is a warning sign that you’re a scammer’s target. You need to completely ignore such emails. Other ways financial scammers look to scam people in the UAE include Prize scams and street scams.


Gold Fraud - The case of missing funds

A gold bullion center, Dubai is well placed to rival London and Shanghai as a gold investment hub. However, authorities in the United Arab Emirates have been cautioning its residents from investing in gold of late. Why? Recently clients of a Dubai based gold company invested nearly $60 million in the company. About half of those funds are said to be missing. The company alleged to have carried out the fraud is Gold AE.

A company that allows online trading of gold and silver, Gold AE was the first to launch ‘gold ATMs’ in 2010. Gold ATMs are probably what Gold AE is best known for. Recently, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) free zone terminated Gold AE’s license. DMCC stated that it had terminated the license of Gold AE because some of the activities undertaken by the company were in breach of DMCC’s rules.

So what were the activities that breached DMCC’s rules and forced the authority to terminate Gold AE’s license? Headquartered in Dubai, Gold AE was the main channel through which Turkish ‘physical’ gold made its way into the United Arab Emirates. From the UAE, the gold was off-shored to Iran. However, the gold didn’t leave for Iran until substantial ‘commissions’ were pocketed.

The company announced in December 2015 that it had unexpectedly and suddenly become bankrupt. Furthermore, an interrogation by minority shareholders revealed that the whole previous management team of the company unanticipatedly resigned without notice. Additionally, the shareholders made a shocking revelation—some of the management and majority shareholders had withdrawn a substantial amount of money from the company’s account to deposit it into their personal accounts.

In simple terms, over the last several years Gold AE was utilized as a means to camouflage Turkey-Iran gold smuggling trade worth billions. However, the fraud of Gold AE was only revealed after the company unexpectedly and suddenly became insolvent and all of its holdings had been completely ransacked. The ransacking of holdings included looting of customer accounts.

According to grieving customers of Gold AE, the company discontinued its services without warning in November 2015. However, customers claim that they their accounts were inaccessible weeks before the company made the announcement to quit. Furthermore, the customer's claim that they haven’t been told what’s happening with the company and whether their money will be returned. According to some financial experts in the UAE, recovery of any of the funds involved in highly unlikely. This means that approximately $30 million has fallen prey to gold fraud.

Apart from the loss of $30 million, the fraud carried out by the management and majority shareholders of Gold AE has resulted in one of the biggest gold smuggling gimmicks in history. Investigators both within the UAE and abroad are looking for perpetrators. However, little progress has been made in that regard so far. There is little chance of the victims being reunited with their lost money. However, there is a valuable lesson for us in this—think twice before making gold investments in the United Arab Emirates.


Card fraud wreaking havoc in the UAE

Many people believe that standing in a way that prevents people behind them from viewing their PIN number and not revealing their card details to anyone is enough for them to avoid card fraud. Unfortunately, that is not case at least not in the United Arab Emirates. The recent ATM fraud that has wreaked havoc in the UAE is the reason.

In 2015, Dubai police arrested a group of European men accused of stealing around $1.5 million from ATMs across the UAE. The perpetrators adopted a truly unique way of stealing card information. In order to copy cards, the fraudsters placed stickers inside the card reader of the ATM. Furthermore, they recorded the PIN numbers of cardholders by installing cameras. Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident of card fraud in the UAE. In fact, one in every ten UAE resident is a victim of card fraud.

Another famous card fraud case occurred in May this year. After gaining unauthorized access of UAE banks’ databases, the perpetrators manufactured fake cards and withdrew more than $40 million within a couple of hours using those cards. For most people in the UAE, credit cards are an easy way to pay for things. Unfortunately, they don’t consider the possible risks.

According to recently revealed statistics, compared to spending in the same period last year consumer spending using cards in the UAE during the first quarter of 2016 increased by 10%. This clearly indicates that an increasing number of UAE residents are using their card to make purchases. Therefore, being wary of card scams is important for people residing in the United Arab Emirates. In view of the ATM card fraud mentioned above, the UAE central bank, and Dubai police are now urging UAE banks to replace old ATMs with newer ones that simply cannot be tampered with.

However, your best chance of avoiding card fraud is adopting measures to protect yourself from card scams. These measures include:

  • Avoiding cash machines that are free standing because they’re easy targets for fraudsters

  • Use your hand to cover the number pad. By doing this, you will prevent the camera from recording your PIN number

  • Avoiding using an ATM machine that appears tampered with or unique

  • Always keep an eye on people around you. If someone is watching you while you use the machine, ditch that machine and go use another one.

  • Never reveal your card details to anyone

  • Avoiding responding to unsolicited emails from your bank asking you to verify your bank account or credit card details

By following the aforementioned steps, residents of UAE can avoid the card frauds that are currently wreaking havoc in the country. However, their best bet to avoid being scammed is following their instincts. If something doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t. Therefore, if you don’t feel right performing a card transaction then don’t do it.

Airline Ticket Fraud- A growing trend in the United Arab Emirates

“Share this to get free tickets!” Ever come across this on the internet? You probably have. While some might genuinely be giving away free tickets for liking their Facebook page or sharing a piece of information on the internet, the majority of people who post such things are ‘fraudsters’. There are a few (if any) airlines around the world that are giving free tickets or money to people who share or like their page on social networking sites.

The majority of posts that pop up on the internet saying ‘share this to get free tickets’ are nothing but online scams. Unfortunately, many people in the United Arab Emirates and in other parts of the world have fallen prey to these scams. Scammers and malware suppliers set traps for online users and are always looking for ways to lure these users to follow web links that lead them to those traps. One way of trapping online users currently being employed by scammers, especially in the UAE, is offers of free airline tickets.

Nearly everyone in the UAE cities: Dubai and Abu Dhabi uses airline tickets. As a consequence, Airline tickets in the UAE have considerable value. However, the non-material nature of airline tickets and the fact that they quite expensive forces people to believe that a business might actually be giving away free tickets as part of their advertising/ promotional campaign. This thought-process is what scammers take advantage of. The scammers use Facebook or the mail to spread links that claim to offer free airline tickets to those who follow the links.

The scammers ask unwary users to click on links that look like Facebook ‘share’ buttons. People who follow the links are led to pages that prompt the user to provide a considerable amount of personal information, fill out lengthy survey forms and sign up to costly and difficult-to-cancel ‘Reward Offers’. In the UAE alone, airline ticket fraud has amounted to over $250 million. Recently, Dubai Police arrested six people of various nationalities involved in airline ticket fraud.

The suspects allegedly created fake accounts on social media sites to give away ‘free’ airline tickets and made millions of dollars through it. The arrests were possible due to the cooperation of Airlines such as Emirates and payment services such as American Express, Visa, and MasterCard. However, the people arrested are only a few of the ‘many’ such scammers operating in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Before getting arrested, one of the fraudsters managed to make $ 1 million by offering fake ‘free’ tickets online. The scammers make money from victims by luring them with ‘free ticket offers’ in return for credit card and other valuable information. While people who fall for these offers don’t get any free tickets, the scammers manage to ‘steal’ a considerable amount of money from them. Therefore, people living in the United Arab Emirates as well as in other parts of the world need to be wary of the ‘free’ airline ticket offers that pop up on the internet.


Be wary of ‘double your cash’ schemes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi

The lack of privacy on the internet has always been a cause of concern. However, something far worse has infiltrated the World Wide Web recently—if you’re caught in a ‘money flipping scam’, you could lose a lot of money and that too very fast. So what is a money flipping scam? Existing for quite some time now, money-flipping scams are scams where someone informs you that they know a way to double or triple your money. To make that happen, all you need to do is give ‘them’ your money. This goes without saying—once you give them your money, they make a run with it.

Ill-informed aspiring financial market traders are a group of people constantly targeted by ‘money-flipping scammers’. These individuals are soft targets for the aforementioned scammers. This is the reason they’re constantly bombarded with ‘double/triple your cash’ schemes. So why are the aforementioned people soft targets? Ill-informed aspiring traders enter the financial trading world with the intention of doubling or tripling their money. Additionally, they want this to happen fast. Unfortunately, they have little or no knowledge of how to ‘actually’ double or triple their money (if there ever was such a thing). All of the aforementioned factors make them the prime targets of money-flipping scammers.

Until a victim comes to them and trades, scammers will repeatedly infiltrate their target’s inbox or the World Wide Web with ‘double your money’ schemes. Once they’ve managed to gain the attention of their target, scammers will ask the individual their targeting to give them a small amount of money for trading so that they can ‘double’ the individual’s money. This is a big scam—once the scammer gets the money, it either runs away with the money or keeps manipulating the victim until ‘enough’ cash is generated. One country where this trend has been noticed of late is the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

While ‘double your cash’ frauds are happening all over the UAE, the majority of the victims are based in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In the UAE, financial scammers are targeting amateur investors by offering to ‘double their money’ in FX trading. Unfortunately, the ‘double your cash’ schemes that exist today are nothing but fraud programs used to make loads of ‘illegal’ cash or pay returns to existing investors.

This is sad but true—many people in the UAE have fallen prey to the ‘double your money’ scammers. There has been a recent crackdown on the aforementioned scammers in the UAE. However, many of the scammers still remain at large—they’re still conning people and minting money out of them. An example of this is a scammer with offices in Dubai Media City.

The scammer promises more than 100% return on investments of less than $20,000. $ 20,000 is simply too low for trading. In fact, the minimum deposit is generally close to $100,000. Unfortunately, there are many similar scammers operating in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Therefore, being wary of ‘double your cash’ schemes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is extremely important.

Watch out for these Prevalent Frauds in the UAE

TV series like White Collar and Hustle have been quite popular in their days; with the elaborate planning and detailed cons, you never knew such frauds were ever possible! But coming back to reality, have you ever considered that you might fall prey to such con artists as well, who won’t necessarily possess the morals of Neil Caffery or Michael Stone? Probably not. Well, it’s high time that you do because the con men at play in the UAE are devising clever and innovative schemes to rob you of your hard earned money. The following frauds are on the high rise in UAE, especially in the big metropolitan cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai:

Online Credit Card Frauds

In February only, the Dubai police arrested 381 suspects who were associated with online credit card frauds for the past two years.

Dubai: Just last week, it was found through a survey that every one in ten residents of the UAE is a victim of online credit card fraud. On Sunday, the 19th of June, the results of this survey were released at the launch of the UAE Card Security Week by the Department of Economic Development in collaboration with Visa. The campaign lasted from June 20 to June 27. The main focus of the campaign was to guide customers regarding safe online shopping and avoiding credit card frauds in the UAE.

SIM Swap Frauds

The residents of Abu Dhabi are being warned about a new kind of financial fraud in which tricksters get a hold of your mobile phone to access sensitive banking information. The scam is being called as the ‘SIM Swap Fraud’ and last week, the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank sent email alerts to safeguard its customers against the scam.

The fraudsters somehow gain access to personal information of individuals and then request the mobile carrier companies for a new SIM card by stealing the individual’s identity. They even forged identification documents that are required for the issuance of a new SIM card. The company deactivates the old SIM card and once the fraudsters get a new one attached to the person’s bank account, they can receive bank notifications and one-time PIN codes.

The Magic Pen Fraud

Some banks in the UAE are dealing with angry customers who have been conned into giving away more money than intended through checks. The ink of ‘magic pens’ fades away after a while and that’s the reason these pens are used by fraudsters for filling in checks. They lure in customers as imposters and either:

  • Persuade the issuer to use another pen to fill in the details of the amount and beneficiary’s name

  • Or ask the customer for a blank check to fill in their phony information with their magic pen. The check is then returned to the customer that he/she signs with an ordinary pen.

So, when the ink of the magic pen fades away, the fraudsters write the beneficiary’s name and the amount according to their liking. The check is then cashed through different third parties from various banks.

The First Gulf Bank and RAK Bank are among those establishments who have issued an email alert to their customers regarding this fraud. Follow these safety tips if you wish to protect yourself from this kind of fraud.


How to Keep the Financial Scams in UAE at Bay

The UAE is not a bed of roses as compared to the rest of the world when it comes to financial scams. The most common frauds occur through the internet but there alor possibly through a phone call. From nationals to expatriates, all have come across one form of financial scam or another.

Yes, these cases do get reported and justice is served, but you are responsible for your own safety. Here is how you can prevent becoming a victim of a financial scam in Dubai.  

Cold Call Scams about Financial Services and Products

Any sales contact through email, fax, or phone which you did not really inquire about is cold calling. The practice does not come in the definition of a financial fraud but it is a common modus operandi of scammers in the UAE. So, if you get a cold call from an unlicensed firm selling financial services and products, you should be on high alert. Most of these cold calling companies are overseas so checking the local records for the existence of such companies is not enough. Procuring services from such companies is a huge risk.

Ask agencies like SCA (Securities and Commodities Authority) to share a list of firms that have the license to provide financial services in the UAE if the cold calling company claims to be in that area or run a background check with offshore financial regulatory bodies for the authentication of the caller. An internet search is not sufficient as a bogus website can conceal the malicious intent.  

Cry for an Emergency

Sometimes, scammers make an emotional attempt at stealing your money by telling a heart-wrenching tale of an ailment or suffering. Always ascertain that the person you are trying to help is genuinely in dire need of help.

“Congratulations, You Have Won a Lottery Ticket!” Scams

Your received an email that flashes out the lottery ticket alert? A hundred million Dirhams may seem alluring enough but do not fall into the trap. The email reeks of scam all the way long. Whilst miracles do happen but if you do not remember participating in any similar activity, the chances are pretty slim, right?

Fake Emails from a Bank

One thing that you should be aware of is that banks and credit card companies do not ask for personal information over the email system. You may get prompted by a “genuine-looking” email sent by your bank (apparently) stating that maintenance upgrades, surveys or charges due, etc., requiring you to provide financial information. Never heed to such scammers, as they are plundering the internet by sending thousands of such emails at random to prospective victims, waiting for some unsuspected individuals to take the bait. Unfortunately, a large majority of people who do succumb to these frauds are senior citizens. Never respond to these suspicious emails and always consult your bank first if you haveany concern and if you have loved ones who are seniors, it is advisable to educate them as well.

Identity Thieves

In certain situations, the scammers are not really interested in getting their hands on your money – all that they want is your identity so that they can create a fake profile and use it to scam others. In order to avoid this type of a scam, always share details with only authorized personnel.

New Financial Frauds Are Trending In the UAE!

A new method of scamming people has been trending in the United Arab Emirates for quite a while now. Scammers never leave any stone unturned when it comes to developing new and unique ideas to fool investors and laymen, to coax hefty sums of money from them. Every city of the UAE, especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi, witnesses hundreds of financial frauds on a daily basis. While some people act smart by not falling prey to these fraudsters, others don’t know what they are getting into; hence become a victim of the fraud.

The con artists of the UAE have encountered many new ways to lure people into different scams in the past few months. They make sure not to leave any loopholes in their set up and this is why they manage to escape the police and the government. However, many frauds are reported and the tricksters caught as well.

WhatsApp is the new tool for scammers!

The latest trend of financial frauds that has disturbed the citizens of Dubai and Abu Dhabi is the ‘double your cash’ scam and all the Ponzi schemes. But the one that has really surprised everyone is executed through WhatsApp, the most used messaging application worldwide.

People residing in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have reported many incidents in the year 2016, stating that they have received messages on the social media platforms especially on WhatsApp, where someone asks them for financial assistance. People have also received calls from a UAE number in which the caller asks them for financial aid because he is facing a financial crisis and is unable to feed his family.

The messages received by people also had account numbers and complete addresses where the so-called needy person wants the money to be transferred. These cases are also reported to the police and according to the Abu Dhabi police, people have received messages containing sob stories and emotional requests to help the person (scammer) as he is really in desperate need for money.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi police have stated that they are willing to help those who are genuinely in need. But since these messages have been circulating all over the country in large numbers, they are definitely the work of a fraud ring.

Bogus and Ponzi schemes

Next are the Ponzi schemes which are one of the major financial scams, trending across the the UAE. These schemes target amateur investors by offering them an excellent plan of multiplying their money in the foreign exchange trading.

The common persuasion technique is to promise 100% or more on their returns on the foreign exchange, and they do provide this to a few selected individuals so that word gets out ‘how great this investment is’. Once a sufficient number of people have followed the footsteps of the initial investors (who came out a winner), they fall prey to the Ponzi scheme, since after a while, their entire investment is lost.

But the reality is, ‘Forex’ funds actually do not exist and all these are Ponzi schemes in which the cash received from new investors is used to pay off returns to the current investors. However, many cases have been reported where the investors realized that they were being conned, thus withdrawing their money at the right time.

The newspapers and media of the country are full of cases reporting frauds and scams happening every other day and they appear to be rampant in the UAE. It is advised to be cautious when visiting the UAE, as well as taking the necessary precautions by understanding their culture. Numerous people have been arrested by not following their laws.

The Company is Dead, Long Live the Creditors

UAE Financial Scams Continue

Dubai, the city of gold, has witnessed myriad financial scams in recent years. Most of the scams in UAE relate to trading companies that are able to silently operate under the radar of regulatory authorities. In UAE, the frequency of reports related to the financial scams has increased tremendously in recent years. Since 2013, approximately 15 trading companies have disappeared after buying millions worth of goods against post-dated checks. In every scam, it’s the ordinary businessmen that get hurt as they do not have sufficient skills to vet the trading company.

Reliancee Group was the biggest financial scam that the UAE saw in recent years. The swindlers at Reliancee Group used to operate from a plush two storey office building located in the industrial area. Reliancee Trading Company affected around 50 businesspersons in UAE and left the country with several millions of dirhams. Reliancee Trading, along with all other phony trading companies, adopt the same tactic of purchasing goods from the supplier against a post dated check and receiving money in advance from the trader to whom the goods were to be delivered and leaving the country after accumulating millions. All the checks issued by Reliancee Group bounced in the month of May and the staff of Reliancee Group vanished on the day when the checks were to be honored.

Apart from Reliancee Group, Barnabio General Trading LLC, is the recent company that has duped businessmen by issuing Dh.10 million worth of dud checks. This company was setup by Ayaz Syed, who claimed to live in Mumbai before coming to UAE for business.

Most of the trading companies that are set up to cheat with the market participants are established by Indians and Pakistanis with an Arab partner and shareholder.  

Modus Operandi of Trading Scams

Step 1 A phony trading company sets up a website and rents out an office in a popular area in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

Step 2 These trading companies acquire trading license that allow them to do business in the UAE. These trading companies then approach other firms to buy goods.

Step 3 Now the trading company set up by a con artist starts making purchases and honor all its financial obligations mainly to gain trust among other market participants.

Step 4 After the trust is established, the trading company starts to place large orders with the suppliers against a post-dated check. This should act as an indication that something is wrong with the trading company.

Step 5 With the goods in hand, the trading company starts to sell them at a rock bottom prices that are well below the market prices. This is done to quickly turn those goods into cash.

Step 6 Before the checks can be cashed, the con artist(s) that have set up the whole trading company now closes the doors of office and fly out of the country along with millions of dirhams.  

Beware of Forex Scams in Dubai

Global investors should be aware that they could be the targets of a scam offering to double their money through foreign currency exchange (forex) trading. In reality, these exchange funds are really just a Ponzi scheme.

The National reported dozens of these get-rich-quick scams can easily be found, and while they look genuine, they work by using the cash from new investors to pay returns to existing investors. Expert financial advisors warn that the schemes could collapse at any moment.

One company is promising a return of 110% on investments of as little as $20,000, reported The National. The low investment makes getting involved very attractive for amateurs when normally the minimum deposit is $100,000 or more and returns would be just 7% a year.

An investor who had pulled his money from the fund, explained that the offer will likely draw in airline cabin crew members and teachers.

This is not the first time forex schemes have been an issue in Dubai. In the summer of 2013, MMA Forex, another scam, lost investors millions when it collapsed.


Saudi Arabia facing Cash Crunch and Unemployment

Saudi Arabia's main source of revenue that makes up to 88 percent of its total income has always been oil. Since the Arab Spring, Saudi Arabia's government gained leverage among its citizens by using its massive oil wealth to give them generous benefits. Perks included free healthcare and education as well as no income tax and interest free funds for families that wanted to buy homes or start businesses. Many Saudi citizens rely on these benefits since a majority are employed by the Saudi government. However, the recent crash of oil prices will see these benefits severely cut. These gas hikes aren't the only thing citizens are worried about, electricity and water prices are also increasing.

The rapid decrease in Saudi's foreign exchange funds is reason for alarm. Last year in 2015, the Kingdom's bank reserves fell from $732 billion to $623 billion. If this trend continues and gas prices stay below $50 a barrel, the International Monetary Fund predicts Saudi Arabia could run out of cash in less than five years. To counter the gas hike, experts worry the Saudi regime might start collecting income or sales tax. A tax will inevitably lead to an increase in political unrest as unemployment is already high in Saudi Arabia. Youth unemployment in those aged 15-24 is 30 percent.


Disenfranchised youth could join radical groups and destabilize the country even further. With two-thirds of the Saudi population under age 30, this socio-economic challenge is the mother of all problems in the Kingdom which is also dealing with a war in Yemen and supporting rebels in Syria. All these factors will impact the Kingdom's financial position.

UAE Fraud Remains

Although top US Treasury Department sanctions officers visited the United Arab Emirates to discuss issues of illicit finance more than a year ago, investment fraud and financial scams remain a problem in the UAE.

Investors who had invested thousands of dollars—sometimes more than $100,000—in a Dubai-based foreign exchange company filed a group police complaint last September because they had been waiting to claim their money from the company for close to a year.

The company, MMA Forex, had been closed down 6 months prior to the complaint following fraud allegations. Gulf News had reported that not only was the company’s chief executive uncooperative in giving back the money, he openly threatened investors that he would not return their money if they reported to the police or spoke with media regarding the matter.

At the time the complaint was filed, at least Dh40 million worth of investments was unaccounted for, according to Gulf News.

The Business Anti-Corruption Portal recommends companies “develop, implement and strengthen integrity systems, as well as conduct extensive due diligence,” when doing business in the UAE.

Caution to UAE Investors

The UAE consits of a group of seven emirates located in the southeast portion of the Arabian Peninsula, some of which boast extraordinary wealth. If you do not exercise caution when considering investing in companies located in the UAE, some of their wealth may come from money stolen from you!

Government officials in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and other United Arab Emirates have consistently encouraged foreign companies to invest in their infrastructure, by luring them with promises of riches and a high return on investment.

Unbeknownst to the investors, these government officials occasionally steal the proceeds from investment companies and the individuals who invest with them. These “officials” in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and other United Arab Emirates who have perpetrated these illegal actions against innocent investors need to know that US investors and investment companies will not stand for this type of deception.

We urge you to read the documents in this website and also encourage you to read "Escape from Dubai" by Herve Jaubert. Mr. Jaubert, a French Engineer, was lured to Dubai to create a large manufacturing Company, but once there, found himself trapped in a scheme of government corruption, lies, coercion and extortion. The book contains verifiable accounts of the type of censorship, deceit, coercion and corruption that runs rampant in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

We ask all potential investors to be prudent about where they put their money. If the investment is in the United Arab Emirates, be very cautious!