Dubai: Have you received a link to a website, looking like an official government portal, which asks you to pay a fee or fine, claiming that your device or system would stay locked until you do so? The Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) has warned online users to steer clear of such websites, as they may get duped by online fraudsters.
TDRA posted an informational video through their official Twitter account on Tuesday, March 15, warning people about scammers impersonating official government websites.
So, if you want a avoid being a target of an online scam, here are some pointers you should keep in mind to stay safe.
How do I identify a fake government website?
According to TDRA, here are the signs of a fraudulent government website:
1. "Your computer's access has been blocked, to unlock it pay Dh6,000"
First of all, you will never be asked by a government website to pay a fine or fee to visit the website or unlock your access.
2. Threatening tone
Online scammers impersonating government accounts or websites have a threatening tone. For example: “If you do not pay the fine, your case will be transferred to Dubai Police Force,” or “you have six hours to pay the fine”. By conveying this message, online scammers intimidate and frighten online users to pay up, and in the process also expose their bank details and private data.
3. Design of the website
Besides deciphering the language used by online scammers, you can also differentiate between a fake and real website through the design and layout. Fraudulent websites use government logos and repeatedly mention the violations through official sounding language to trick users.
How do I report online fraud?
If you been a victim of online fraud, you can file a complaint with the police or through the following platforms:
2. Al Ameen service
You can also report an online crime or fraud confidentially through the Al Ameen Service. This 24 hour service allows UAE citizens and residents to contact Dubai Police under complete anonymity.
How to contact Al Ameen:
• Toll free: 800 4444
• SMS: 4444
• Whatsapp: 050 856 6657
• Outside UAE: 971 800 4444
• Email: email@example.com
• Call the toll free number – 8002626
• Text message on 2828
• E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Apart from the e-crime portal mentioned above, you can also contact Dubai Police through their app – Dubai Police - which is available for Apple and Android devices.
You can also report a financial crime to the nearest police station in your area.
Penalty for creating fake websites and social media accounts
Creating a fake account or website to dupe people into releasing their financial information is punishable under the new UAE cybercrime law - New Federal Decree Law No 34 of 2021. The penalty for online fraud and assuming a false identity is up to Dh1 million fine and one year in jail.