Etisalat’s text message warning customers about phone scams. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Abu Dhabi: Police are keeping a close watch on con artists and in the last six months alone, have arrested as many as 80 people involved in phone scams.

All the money stolen in the scams have since been returned to the victims, confirmed Abu Dhabi Police on Sunday.

The phone scammers involved in the con either claimed to be bankers from financial institutions who requested customers to share their bank details and Pin code, or posed as employees offering cash prizes on behalf of their company.

Phone scams also included fake sites requesting the victim to update his personal information with the bank in order to avoid a disruption of banking services, which was done by clicking on a specific link attached to the message.

However, by clicking on the link, con artist were enabled to directly access the bank account and withdraw money from it.

Police have warned members of the public not to disclose data on their credit cards, bank accounts and telephone to others, and not to respond to phone calls and suspicious messages aimed at accessing their bank card information or PIN numbers.

How to avoid phone scams

  1. Never interact with strange numbers
  2. Always maintain the confidentiality of personal financial information
  3. Immediately inform security services after receiving a suspicious telephone call
  4. Take extra caution when handling unknown telephone messages and calls
  5. Always verify the source

Dh200,000 fine

President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued Federal Law No. 5 of 2012 of the Cyber Crime Law to protect the privacy of information published online including data, information, credit card numbers, bank account statements and details of electronic payment methods.

Article 12 expands the categories of private information and punishes any person who unlawfully accesses credit card numbers, electronic card numbers, bank account statements and details of electronic payment methods by imprisonment and/or a fine. It punishes the intent to use and the use of such information to obtain funds belonging to third parties by imprisonment of not less than six months and/or a fine not less than Dh200,000 and not exceeding Dh1 million.

Article 14 of the New Cyber Crime Law also prohibits a person from obtaining without permission a confidential number, code or password used to access any electronic site without permission by providing for imprisonment and/or a fine not less than Dh200,000 and not exceeding Dh500,000

Article 13 further prohibits the forgery, imitation and copying of a credit card, debit card, and any other electronic payment method and punishes persons from using and knowingly accepting such credit cards, debit cards, and/or other electronic payment methods with imprisonment and/or a fine of not less than Dh500,000 and not exceeding Dh2 million.

Source: Al Tamimi Lawyers and Co.