Dubai: A UAE-based hypermarket and supermarket chain nearly lost more than Dh850,000 to fraudsters who allegedly forged their company documents.
V.K. Moorthy, the company’s chief financial officer, said the fraudulent act started when someone applied for a duplicate SIM card of their company’s managing director from du. The SIM card is registered under the company’s Business Circle Plan with du.
Moorthy said he only learnt about the incident by chance when their managing director’s SIM card got deactivated.
“My managing director called me in the morning saying, ‘My SIM is not working. Have you not paid the bill?” I said we had paid the bill. Then we sent our PRO to du. Du told my PRO a duplicate SIM has been taken,” Moorthy told Gulf News during a visit, adding that the incident happened in February and has not received an official response from du since.
“So my PRO asked the du representative how come they gave a duplicate SIM when our managing director has not even come to their branch to request one.”
When contacted, du told Gulf News that there was no lapse on their part.
“Our team has conducted a detailed investigation on the issue reported and found that, in this particular instance, the SIM-swap request was undertaken at our du shop following the correct due diligence process — the identity of the requester carrying all relevant documents were matched with the valid documents in the system.”
Moorthy said as per their business arrangement, only the company’s managing director and PRO are authorised to transact with du.
Moorthy said after getting the duplicate SIM, the fraudster illegally tried to transfer Dh854,000 from their bank account in their bank’s Sharjah branch.
The unidentified con man allegedly forged the managing director’s signature, used a fake company stamp, crafted a fake invoice, and acquired a copy of the company’s trade licence to attempt the bank transfer. He needed to keep the SIM for bank verification since mobile numbers in the UAE are tied with a resident’s main identification, including for banking purposes.
“What banks normally do is when there’s a high-value transfer, they call the owner of the company. The con man activated the SIM so he was waiting for a call from the bank,” Moorthy said.
Upon receiving the bank transfer request, the bank’s relationship manager noticed that something was amiss.
“My relationship manager called me because I never do such a transaction. My transactions are always done through cheques and if I have a high-value transaction, I always call him,” he said.
Gulf News verified with the company’s bank if the account was true and a bank official corroborated Moorthy’s statement. He said they busted the fraudulent transaction as a result of their robust verification process for all customer transactions.
“Now my whole contention is people can try to do a fraud like this. But how can du issue a duplicate SIM without a request from my managing director, without my managing director personally going, or without his original Emirates ID?” Moorthy said.
Du’s statement in response to the claim:
Du denied the accusation and said that they only issued the SIM card to the employee authorised to transact with du.
Du also said that they are cautious about such fraudulent transactions, and their customer care agents are trained to assess the possible risk of submission of forged identification documents.
“Our team has conducted a detailed investigation on the issue reported and found that, on this particular instance, the SIM-swap request was undertaken at our du shop following the correct due diligence process — the identity of the requester carrying all relevant documents were matched with the valid documents in the system.
“We are cautious about such fraudulent transactions, and our customer care agents are trained to assess the possible risk of submission of forged identification documents. We regularly conduct internal meetings to appraise and sensitise our staff on likely vulnerabilities and possibilities of fraudulent transactions from various sources. As a part of our efforts to strengthen authentication process, customers who submit their Emirates ID for SIM-swap is directly authenticated by The Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA). We encourage our customers to continue to be vigilant and report to us or law-enforcing authorities any suspicious transaction.”