Dubai: Dubai Police have warned the public of scammers calling up people, claiming to be representatives of government entities or banks and trying to lure the victims into sharing their personal information and sensitive data.
In a recent scam, a legal document with the name of the UAE Central Bank on it reached some residents, saying that the customers’ ATM or credit cards will be blocked due to security reasons. The recipients were told to contact a certain phone number to provide and verify details. Dubai Police said that online scammers have changed their style of criminal activities and are now posing as policemen or employees and officials purportedly working in banks, to deceive unsuspecting customers.
“Scammers are impersonating others to obtain money illegally from victims. People are advised not to disclose personal information, bank account numbers or credit card details to anyone over the phone,” Colonel Saeed Al Hajiri, Director of Cybercrimes Department at Dubai Police, said. He further explained that banks, police or government officials do not require their customers to update their personal data over the phone.
Meanwhile, Captain Abdullah Al Shehi, Deputy Director of Cyber-Crimes Department in Dubai Police, said that banks have enough measures to protect customers’ data. “Police will not send messages or make calls, asking for personal data from the public. People should know that. Never share the One Time Password (OTP) with anyone as it is for the customer to verify his or her identity during transactions,” said Capt Al Shehi. Police said that if any information needs to be updated, the process is done at the bank and branches.
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According to Dubai Police, people can report scammers through the e-crimes platform or through Dubai Police app.
Earlier, the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) had alerted customers about an increase in fraudulent activities and stressed the need not to disclose information such as personal and bank account details to any person or entity. The Central Bank said neither it nor banks operating in the UAE will ever request for such information from consumers and warned them of malicious phone calls and fraudulent messages that they may receive via WhatsApp, using CBUAE’s name and logo. In addition, CBUAE reminded customers not to answer such calls or messages and to avoid clicking on or opening any link or attachment to avoid data exposure to malicious websites.
According to UAE Cybercrimes Law, the punishment for impersonating, with the intention of obtaining money, is between one to three years in jail and a fine of Dh250,000.