Dubai: A newly-wed woman who bought a visa on Facebook to come to the UAE and live with her husband, was deported from the airport after the visa was found to be fake, officials said on Tuesday.
The Arab couple had paid Dh4,000 to get the ‘visa’.
Brigadier Mohammad Rashid Bin Sari Al Muhairi, Deputy Director of Criminal Investigation Department of Dubai Police, said the Arab woman’s husband found an advertisement on a Facebook page offering visas to the UAE.
When he contacted the page admin, he received a call from a man who posed as a government official. The call was from a landline and he agreed to pay Dh7,000 for the visa and sent his wife’s documents to the page’s admin and wired Dh4,000 as the first instalment to a man in Fujairah.
After he got the ‘visa’, his wife landed at a UAE airport, but officials informed her that the visa was fake and she was sent back to her country.
“The victim lodged a complaint and presented a receipt for the wired money. We arrested the Arab suspect who led us to his accomplice. Both confessed that they were assisting a third suspect who was staying outside the country and was running the Facebook page for visa seekers,” Brigadier Al Muhairi said.
The gang were charging unsuspecting victims Dh7,000 to Dh9,000 for the fake visas.
The two suspects said they used to collect the money from the victims and send it to the page admin, who was staying in another Gulf country.
Meanwhile, Lt Col Omar Mohammad Bin Hammad, deputy director of the Anti-Economic Crime Department at Dubai Police, said they had received five complaints from other victims before they arrested the two suspects.
“The main suspect was an Arab man who used to work in the UAE. He used a special software to call his victims and the number that showed up on their phones was a landline number of a government institution. When the victims called back, they would be directed to the answering machine of the actual government institution which led them to believe the service was genuine and not a scam,” Lt Col Bin Hammad said.
Dubai Police recovered Dh40,000 from the two suspects and receipts for wired money. After arresting the two, the police called the residents mentioned in the receipts and were surprised to find they had been waiting for their visas for months.
“There is a warrant against the third suspect who is living in a Gulf country. Both suspects have been referred to Dubai Public Prosecution to complete the investigation,” Lt Col Bin Hammad said.
The police, meanwhile, advised people to get visas only through official channels or from approved companies and not trust social media accounts advertising such visa services.
Brigadier Al Muhairi said: “People should go to official channels or authorised visa and tourist companies to get UAE visas. Social media pages run by unknown people cannot be trusted. They are scammers willing to con people and get their money.”