Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Police on Saturday warned residents of dangers of real estate frauds on social networking sites where scamsters lure people with heavily discounted properties.

A number of people were arrested recently for cheating residents in real estate dealings.

Customers often look for cheaper bargains for rental properties on different social media sites which later turn out to be fake.

Brigadier General Mohammed Suhail Al Rashidi, Acting Director of Criminal Security Department of Abu Dhabi Police, said people who search for cheaper properties shouldn’t trust the onlione advertisements.

“People should verify rental contract documents from the concerned authorities following rental rules that these reductions are not fake. This way people can protect their rights and wouldn’t fall prey to cheaters online,” he said.

The police urged the public to exercise utmost preventive measures by contacting the approved real estate offices, asking the mediator or the representative to show their UAE identity, and not give them identification papers except in those offices, receive sealed receipts, maintain official contracts and ensure registration of the property in the Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities.

Brigadier General Musallam Mohammad Al Amiri, director of Directorate of External Areas in the criminal security sector, said the directorate’s centres recently received calls where several people got cheated in real estate deals, following which a number of suspects have been arrested.

“The police recovered false rental contracts from their possession and signed documents by the leaser without details of the property, owner and the mediator. They possessed different fake documents where properties were shown registered under names of unknown people. They had detailed financial transactions of a number of fake companies,” Brig Gen Al Amiri said.

The Abu Dhabi Police urged the public to report such frauds to reduce the crime rate in the emirate, and stressed on spreading awareness among people to call the police whenever they suspect any real estate fraud.

Last year in July, the Abu Dhabi Police arrested a gang of six real estate fraudsters for cheating residents in the capital of about Dh560,000.

They were charged of subletting apartments, collecting the rent and disappearing without paying the landlord.

The suspects took villas directly from the landlords on rent after giving post-dated cheques. They then sublet the units to tenants at low rents, and made each of them pay the entire rent at one go. After receiving the funds, they disappeared without paying the landlords.