Buying online, generic
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Dubai: Before renting or buying a property in Dubai, first ensure that it is genuine to avoid scammers, said officials in the emirate on Sunday.

Authorities in Dubai, warned residents over fake advertisements on social media platforms like Facebook that claim to offer investment or renting opportunities in the UAE.

Major-General Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant to the Dubai Police Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs, told Gulf News that number of people have been defrauded by scammers posing as property agents or brokers dealing in residential units.

“People must be cautious and double check the online ads about properties before renting or buying it. There are official channels to check about the property to avoid scammers. People should report any information they may have about such scammers,” said Major General Al Mansouri during a Dubai Police forum on Sunday about online properties security.

Caught in the act

Meanwhile, Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jallaf, Director of the Criminal Investigation Department of Dubai Police, said that they recorded 104 fraud cases and arrested 136 suspects last year.

“We have e-patrols all the time to track scammers and different online cases. Last year we had 12,630 e-patrols including 1,155 patrols to check the fraud accounts,” said Brigadier Al Jallaf.

Al Jallaf added that electronic fraud and credit card forgery cases increased last year because more people are using smartphones and technology in Dubai. “We recorded 649 fraud cases last year and arrested 90 suspects inside the UAE. There was 170 cases of forging credit cards where 28 suspects arrested,” said Al Jallaf.

False advertising

Al Mansouri, pointed out that such types of advertisements are run by scammers who use fake websites and fake social media accounts to con residents. The forum, attended by Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri, Commander-In-Chief of Dubai Police, and Sultan Bin Mejren, Director General of Dubai Land Department, was also attended by investors who discussed problems in the property sector, along with economic crimes and public awareness.

Using fake IDs, tenancy contracts and false names to trick their victims, the fraudsters showed homes and apartments to several prospective tenants, without the knowledge of the property owners, obtaining rent and commission fees before vanishing.

Several scammers have been arrested by the police, after being caught posting ads offering apartments for cheap rents.

499 cases last year amounting to over Dh1 billion

Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jallaf, Director of the Criminal Investigation Department of Dubai Police, said that the Anti-Economic Crime Department in Dubai Police recorded 499 cases last year which amounted to over Dh1 billion.

“Dubai is a magnet for investors and businessmen due to the safe environment and opportunities,” said Al Jallaf. “Many famous brands developed in Dubai because they know their trademark is protected. We arrested 471 suspects specialised in forgery and seized fake items worth Dh1 billion,” he added.

Raising awareness

Dubai Police in cooperation with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) launched three campaigns last year to avoid e-fraud and encourage people to report incidents to police.

How to avoid falling for rental scams:

  • Avoid dealing with unlicensed brokers or someone who claims to be a representative of the owner or real estate company.
  • Avoid dealing with unlicensed brokers or someone who claims to be a representative of the owner or real estate company.
  • Do not make an advance payment to book the property.
  • Go to the website of the Department of Land and Property in Dubai (www.dubailand.gov.ae) to confirm the name of the developer or company and its associated projects
  • Confirm the real estate’s trade license.
  • Landlords and real estate companies should secure empty apartments and lock them.

Avoid dealing with unlicensed brokers or someone who claims to be a representative of the owner or real estate company.

Do not make an advance payment to book the property

Go to the website of the Department of Land and Property in Dubai (www.dubailand.gov.ae) to confirm the name of the developer or company and its associated projects

Confirm the real estate’s trade license

Landlords and real estate companies should secure empty apartments and lock them.