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Russian woman loses Dh21,000 in phone scam

Suspect tricked woman to pay Dh21,000 in tax after telling her she had won Dh200,000 prize from du

Gulf News

Dubai: A man has been accused of cheating a woman of Dh21,000 after deceitfully convincing her that she had won Dh200,000 cash prize from du, a court heard on Tuesday.

The Russian received an SMS followed by a phone call from someone who told her he was from du and that her number won a grand prize of Dh200,000 in September 2017.

Falling for the trick, the Russian woman was told she had to pay Dh21,000, according to records, as tax in order to claim her prize.

The woman paid the ‘tax’ in phone credits and made instant cash transfer before realising she had become a victim of a phone scam.

Police apprehended the 26-year-old Pakistani man, who showed up at a money exchange house to collect the woman’s cash transfer.

Prosecutors accused the suspect of using someone else’s Emirates ID when he went to collect the transfer and ganging up with others in swindling and embezzling the Russian’s money.

Prosecutors said the 26-year-old aided and abetted two runaways, who remain at large, in tricking the employee and embezzling her Dh21,000.

The Pakistani suspect pleaded not-guilty and refuted the accusations when he appeared before the Dubai Court of First Instance on Tuesday.

“I used the Emirates ID, but I did not swindle the claimant or embezzle her money,” he contended before presiding judge Mohammad Jamal.

The Russian claimed to prosecutors that she fell for the caller once she was notified about her name and work address.

“The caller said I should pay them Dh21,000 in tax fees to be able to claim my Dh200,000 prize. He gave me a man’s name and said I should transfer the fees to that person. He claimed that the transfer should be in the form of phone credit … I sent them Dh12,500 and Dh2,000 in instant cash transfer and the remainder in phone credit. Later I discovered that I had been duped and reported the matter to the police,” she testified to prosecutors.

The suspect was cited as admitting to prosecutors that he met one of the runaways, who informed him that they had intended to trick victims and embezzle their money.

“He didn’t tell me how, but he just asked me to collect instant cash transfers in the name of someone called Ghulam … the other suspect handed me the ID to present it at money exchange houses to collect the cash,” the suspect was quoted as telling prosecutors.

A judgement will be heard on October 23.

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