Mobile scammers on the prowl

People are unaware that SIM cards have the same code on the back and con artists use this.

Picture for illustrative purposes only
Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News
The fraudulent calls thatbegan over a year ago involvethe caller claiming tobe an etisalat employee offeringcash prizes.
06 Gulf News

Dubai:  Would you give up a few dirhams for a chance to gain thousands? According to Gulf News readers, this is what some scam callers are trying to convince UAE residents to do, in order to receive cash prizes, despite clear repeated statements from etisalat warning customers not to fall for these scams.

Richard F., a South African national residing in Dubai, was a victim of the scam. A man called him while claiming to be an etisalat representative and informed him that he had won a weekly prize of Dh200,000.

Richard said: "I asked him for proof that he was from etisalat and he gave me the five-digit code on my SIM card, which was correct." The reader said he did not know at the time that the same numbers could be found on all SIM cards. He was told to give the caller the codes for ten Dh100 Wasel recharge cards.

Police

Richard said: "After giving the money, the man asked me for another Dh1,000. So I went to etisalat to verify this and was told that it was a scam... they asked me to contact the police."

Richard said he tried to convince the scam caller to meet in person. However, the man on the phone refused. The reader said he hopes that people will learn from his mistake and be more cautious when it comes to such suspicious activities.

Shylesh Ramachandran, a Dubai resident, had a similar experience but did not believe the scam caller. He said: "I received a call from a man who told me that I have won the etisalat lottery. I thought it did not sound legitimate so I just hung up."

Ramachandran took action by alerting Gulf News about the practice and said he hopes the authorities would nab the caller.

Such scams have been occurring for a long time, according to Adnan Khan, a Pakistani national in Dubai.

He said he received a call three years ago from a telephone number in Pakistan, informing him that he had won a cash prize of Dh1 million from etisalat.

Khan, an internal auditor, said: "I knew that this was not legitimate, as the man was speaking in Urdu, so I screamed at him and hung up the phone. Since then I have not received a similar call."

A colleague of Khan received a call a month ago from someone in UK, claiming that he had won an etisalat cash prize, too.

- Scamster posing as etisalat representative randomly calls a victim and tells he/she has won a weekly prize worth Dh200,000 or more from the company

- To make the scam believable the conman gives a code found on the victim’s SIM card

- Victim checks the code, would find it correct and believes the caller

- Conman tells victim to send him the secret code of wasel recharge cards worth Dh1,000 or more

- Victim complies and loses money and that is the last he hears from the conman

- Etisalat says the first eight-digit code are identical for all UAE etisalat SIM Cards (89971122)

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Same thing what happened to my sister.. To her surprised one man acting like he is from etisalat called her and convinced her to give her wasel recharge worth 600 aed.. my sister hurriedly phoned me and told that she won 100 thousand dirhams from etisalat.. Its good I was not carried away by the wiining stake I talk to the man and it so clear that its a SCAM. Imagine an employee of etisalat calling from mobile phone?? I immediately went to Fujairah police and report the incident...

hELLO UAE (RAPIDO)

11 December 2010 17:34jump to comments
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