Dubai: “Congratulations! You have just won free 50GB data and 5,000 minutes talk time.” The message pops up on your phone, apparently sent by a telecom company. All you need to do is click on the link to “redeem the gift”. The UAE’s Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) has warned phone users to not fall prey to such ads, as they may be fraudulent.
In a video posted on their official social media channels, the authority educated users of the problems they can face through such fraudulent ads, including the chances of their phones being hacked or their phone credit being stolen.
These are some of the top tips that TDRA shared in the video for phone users:
1. Check if the website is official and legitimate. Sometimes an ad might use the name of a well-established company but the link provided in the message would direct you to a website that is not official or legitimate. Similarly, the branding of the company may be slightly different, including minor spelling changes or other discrepancies.
2. Do not click on links that you are not sure of. If a message only gives you partial information along with a call to click on a link, this is often a practice used by fake advertisers.
3. Also, remember: Nobody is going to give you a prize or a gift unless you won a challenge or a contest. Before you believe that you have won a prize, ask yourself: Did you participate in a survey or contest, where such an award was promised? If not, why would you be receiving a prize?
4. Call the company. In case you like the ad and want to make sure that the giveaway is really being given by the company, call the original or official source of the company and ask them – does such an offer exist?
Earlier this year, TDRA also launched a campaign educating people on how they can stay away from fraudulent investment scams. Fraudulent activities in the UAE are strictly penalised and can lead to two years in jail and Dh20,000 in fines.
How to report cybercrimes in the UAE
You can report cybercrimes online through the following channels:
Toll Free : +971 800 4888
Fax : +971 800 4888
SMS : 4444
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website : www.alameen.gov.ae
Follow us on Twitter : @AlAmeenService
WhatsApp Mobile : +971 50 8566657
Dubai Police’s website - ecrime.ae
• Visit www.ecrime.ae
• Answer the question: ‘Is the report submitted related to the internet or cyberspace? (Email, social media, internet calls, cybercrime, hacking, blackmail)’.
• Choose the complaint type: Personal, private entity, local government entity or federal entity.
• Submit your Emirates ID electronically.
• Submit your address, mobile number and email ID.
• The platform will text you a verification code to your mobile phone, which you then enter on the platform.
This service is specific to crimes happened within the geographical scope of the emirate of Dubai.
My Safe Society
An app by UAE Public Prosecution, available for Apple and Android devices.
Abu Dhabi Police’s Aman services – 800 2626
You can also report cybercrimes to the nearest police station in your area, or call 999 for help.