Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: UAE consumers and businesses were warned on Sunday to be on alert for scammers who continue to impersonate financial services authorities to defraud them of their hard-earned money.

Fake certificates of incorporation and money laundering clearance are among the latest forged documents that have been intercepted by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

Fake logos

Scammers have also forged the logos of the United Nations and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and created a fictitious authority called the “DIFC secretary general.”

Fraudsters have apparently attempted to defraud some private individuals and convince them to invest in an entity called “First Security Service” by issuing a certificate promising the transfer of millions of US dollars.

In one of the fake papers, labelled as “International Money Laundering Clearance Certificate,” fraudsters claimed that the amount of $6.5 million belonging to the individual mentioned in the certificate has been cleared of all money laundering and terrorism involvement and that the latter can receive the amount.

“The scammers also requested that the individual mentioned in the certificate invest with First Security Service,” the DFSA said.

The DFSA did not share further details about how the scam was uncovered or who the unsuspecting customers were.

Fake signature

But the authority clarified that no company called First Security Service has ever been authorised or regulated by the DFSA, and that the “certificate of incorporation” dated as far back as January 2013 that purportedly legalised the activity of the firm is fake.

“The signature on the fake ‘Certificate of Incorporation’ is not the signature of the chairman of the DFSA,” said the regulatory authority.

“The DFSA strongly advises that you do not respond to any communication from First Security Service or relating to this scam, and under no circumstances should you send or give any money to any party in connection with the scam,” it added.

Avoid being scammed

Here are a few things to keep in mind, according to the DFSA:

1. Check the relevant regulatory agency’s website to see if the company you are dealing with is listed and regulated. You can even contact the regulator to verify whether the company is regulated

2. Do general searches (e.g. on Google) to see what information can be found about the company you are dealing with

3. Only deal with people you trust. Dealing with individuals you have never met carries a higher risk

4. Get independent advice before entering into a transaction, or get a second opinion from a trusted friend

5. Use common sense.

Be wary of the tell-tale signs of a scam such as persons who:

- Communicate only via email and telephone with a reluctance or a refusal to meet in person;

- Are reluctant or refuse to provide information on who regulates their activity; and/or

- Use generic email address such as Hotmail and Yahoo; and

- Keeping paperwork safe. When entering into any new relationship ensure that you maintain good records of all paperwork you receive and keep records of all your meetings and conversations. This may not prevent you from being scammed but will assist in the event that you need to take any action.