Police found 115 SIM cards inside the two flats occupied by the suspects, who paid money to strangers to obtain SIM cards in the their names so they could avoid detection by authorities. For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Xpress

Dubai: Dubai Police busted a large telemarketing racket which conned subscribers into parting with their money in return for prizes from telecom companies.

In a raid at their hideout in Frij Murar area, 40 suspects were caught as they called thousands of people asking them to transfer money in return for ‘valuable prizes’.

Colonel Omar Mohammad Bin Hammad, Deputy Director of the Anti-Economic Crime Department at Dubai Police, said they were tipped off about the gang operating from two apartments in the area.

Each suspect had 4 mobile phones

“There were 40 suspects using two rented flats and each suspect had four mobile phones to call victims using SIM cards registered in different names,” Col Bin Hammad said.

Police arrested 23 suspects in one flat and 17 others in the other. A large number of SIM cards and mobile phones were found at the crime scene.

The suspects would destroy the SIM cards they used to call up their victims, in order to escape police detection.

“We found 115 SIM cards and Dh60,000 cash inside the two flats. [The suspects] paid money to strangers to obtain SIM cards in the their names so they could avoid detection," the officer said.

'You-won-a-cash-prize' scam

"They called people claiming they had won a Dh200,000 prize and asked them to wire the money. Unfortunately, many people fall for this kind of a scam and part with their money,” Col Bin Hamad added.

“All the suspects were Pakistanis who came on a visit visa and overstayed. They spoke Arabic and English and adopted convincing phone manners to dupe people,” Col Bin Hammad added.

The suspects were referred to Dubai Public Prosecution.

Police said they have received several complaints from the public regarding such scammers.

Report scammers

Major-General Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant Commander-in Chief of Dubai Police for Criminal Investigation Affairs, urged the public to be wary of such phone calls.

“Public should be more aware [of the scam] and alert the police about them. It is hard to believe that someone will win this kind of money so easily,” Maj-Gen Al Mansouri said.

Dubai Police urged all community members to cooperate with the security agencies and report any suspicious acts or crimes on 901.

Etisalat, on its part, has issued several warnings to customers through different communication channels to beware of such scams.