Dubai: The next time you see famous UAE businessman Majid Al Futtaim’s photo or any of the country’s billionaires on Facebook with a fishy caption, “Majid: We will make everyone rich!”, beware and don’t fall for it.
Scammers are no longer content with just creating fake Facebook pages. They are now using photos and names of the UAE’s richest businessmen to lure their prey.
The fake pages surfaced just days after Forbes magazine published The World’s Richest Arabs 2017 list earlier this month.
Scammers were quick to “quote” billionaires Majid Al Futtaim, Saif Al Ghurair, Abdullah Al Ghurair and others in a get-rich-quick scheme using these men’s alleged secret to becoming rich.
If you click on one of the scams, a fake CNN Money article will appear to give the illusion that this “easy work at home trick” can make you rich and you can quit your job in 30 days.
At one point, it even used Forbes’ website link but with a ‘z’ instead of an ‘s’ to give the page credibility. Unsuspecting users can easily click on the page thinking it’s real only to be scammed.
Among them was Facebook user, M.T. who clicked on it and commented: “It’s a big scam! I tried to register, I didn’t even finish the process, I got so many phone calls from Canada and UK. Very strange really.”
Another user, Joyce, said she also got calls from the UK and Saudi Arabia.
Gulf News repeatedly contacted Facebook for comment and whether it would take action but received no response at press time. No comment was immediately available from Al Futtaim’s office.
The link redirects you to various fast cash pages, including the “testimonial” of a family that allegedly got rich through the scheme. It will also redirect you to a page that collects your information. “Enter your first name and best email to proceed. This qualifies you for an instant matching deposit bonus of up to $10,000” (Dh36,700), it says.
According to Facebook’s guidelines on how to avoid spams and scams, “scammers use these fake or compromised accounts to trick you into giving them money or personal information”.
Facebook advises users to “avoid responding and report the message to Facebook” if you’ve received a message that you believe is a scam. Facebook takes down pages that are proven to be scams.
Scammers have, in the past, used public figures in their scheme. Just in June this year, the name of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince, was used in a free hotel stay giveaway hoax.
Red flags to watch out for on Facebook
1. Don’t fall for people you don’t know in person who are asking you for money. Beware of people asking you for advance fees to receive a loan, prize or other winnings.
2. Avoid people asking you to move your conversation off Facebook (such as a separate email)
3. Scams usually are easy to spot for their poor spelling and grammatical mistakes. The information given could also be downright wrong, cannot be independently verified, or misleading. The pages have just been recently created and have no other posts. The page names seem innocent or legitimate but offer nothing else. The samples we got are: Pat;s Pillow Case, Odelle’s Nailpolish, Maddy’s Massage, Naomi’s Hairspray Hacks.
4. Always check for the blue badge beside the name of the page as pages representing large companies, organisations or public figures are usually verified by Facebook.