A woman uses her mobile phone
Many residents report receiving calls from people posing as bank representatives (Photo for illustrative purposes only) Image Credit: GN Archive

Dubai: Have you received a call from someone claiming to be a bank representative and asking you for your personal information? Well, beware!

Senior Prosecutor Dr Khalid Ali Al Junaibi said while the level of e-crimes in Dubai is minor compared to other countries, many people are stilling fall victim to scamsters.

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“The first online scams in the country included those in which the caller would claim the receiver had won a prize, but as more people become aware of it, the fraudsters changed their style and started calling the victim as bank representatives, asking to divulge bank details and personal information,” Dr Al Junaibi said. “They even scare the victim that his or her account will be blocked if he didn’t provide the required information and some people fall prey to their demands.”

He urged the public not to entertain such calls, which are usually made from a mobile number.

“Your bank will never ask for your confidential details over the phone. Updating the customer’s bank account is done through legitimate channels. People can call their banks to see if there is a problem with the account,” he said.

Dr Al Junaibi said that in one case, an elderly woman received a call from a person who posed as a bank employee and claimed that her credit card was blocked and asked for a copy of her passport and ID.

“She gave her details after trusting the caller and her bank savings subsequently disappeared. This is the new trend of scams,” said Al Junaibi. “Don’t give your details or ID to strangers over the phone. Don’t respond to unsolicited calls or text messages asking for your sensitive information.”

How to tell a fraudulent call: First-hand accounts

'Now she started getting agitated...'

By Alex Abraham, Senior Associate Editor

On Monday, June 22, 2020, I received a call at 14:27 from a cell phone number 050-9621467.

A man on the line said he was calling from “Emirates ID” authority and wanted to do some verification of my bank accounts. The first red flag was that the call was coming in from a mobile number. When I enquired about this, he said it was a forwarded call.

He then transferred the call to a lady who said the same thing – she was calling from “Emirates ID” and wanted to carry out some verifications. She asked me to check if I had received an SMS. I did receive one at the same time – from UAE PASS, which sent me an OTP which I did not request.

She then asked me the first question: “When was the last time you withdrew money from the ATM?”

I replied: “A long time back,” and then told her that I was not comfortable answering her questions.

Her second question was: “Do you use the debit card or credit card to make transactions?”

I refused to answer the question and said I would like to check why Emirates ID was asking these questions. She said there was nothing to fear and asked the same question again.

I asked her if she could call me the next day so I could verify the call as there were many scams taking place.

Now she started getting agitated and repeated the question.

When I refused to answer, she said: “OK, I am going to block your account,” and slammed the phone down.

‘Good morning, how can we help you?”

By Shyam Krishna, Senior Associate Editor

A caller purportedly from my bank called and after the usual queries and the standard advisory that the call will be recorded for training purposes, he said he wanted to update my profile.

I sensed something was wrong, and said I will update it online.

He said, it’s right in front of him and he can do it for me.

I insisted that I will do it myself.

Then he offered credit card advance.

The call was from a landline. I called back immediately, was greeted with a “Good Morning, how can we help you?” with the name of the bank being mentioned.

There was no giveaway except for the request to update my profile.

Safeguards you can take

Limit the information you share on social media platforms

Don’t disclose any personal details like your phone number, date of birth visible for all on social media

Do not respond to unsolicited calls

If you are told of a dire action on your or your bank account, do not panic, call your bank’s call centre and check about your account

Do not provide banking information, password, PIN or OTP with anyone over the phone

Source: UAE Banks Federation (UBF)