Abu Dhabi: A hoax e-mail sent across the UAE in the past two years has caused inconvenience to one of the highest bodies in the Abu Dhabi government.

The e-mail is written in the name a senior official working in the organisation (who requested not to be named). He told Gulf News that the spammer copied and pasted the company's logo from the official website.

"This e-mail keeps coming and going. I got used to it and there's really nothing I can do to control it being spread around; I just hope people don't take it seriously and don't relate the authority's name to it since we don't send such e-mails to start with," said the official.

The e-mail titled "warning" asks the reader to beware of phone calls received on mobile phones from a person claiming to be an engineer who requests people to press (#90) or (#09) or any other number and asks people to forward the warning to their friends and acquaintances.

Commenting on the spam, Mohammad N. Al Ganem, Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) Director General, told Gulf News: "We have received a number of enquiries regarding an SMS and e-mail warning people that by replying to a certain number or an e-mail, or by pressing star, hash, etc, you'll be hacked and your bank accounts and personal information will be penetrated."

"These messages that are claiming an extremely dangerous virus will result from responding to such SMSs or e-mails ... are nothing more than a hoax. It is impossible for such a harm to penetrate your computer or mobile from pressing a digit or simply replying to an e-mail without enclosing specific confidential information. The aim of such claims is to spread panic that would result in restraining from using the telecommunication services," said the statement.

Al Ganem added that the TRA is working on putting more protective measures on these mediums. "There will be procedures and regulations will be issued by [the] authority soon to secure users from such hazards of the mobile and internet."

In addition, last month, theInterior Ministry issued a warning asking residents to be vigilant about suspicious phone calls and text messages.

Brigadier Omeir Mohammad Al Muhairy, the Director of Capital Police said in the statement that such crimes which are aided by technology are fairly recent to the city. He urged residents to report cases immediately and that the police are coordinating with the TRA to curb such crimes.

- With inputs from Rayeesa Absal, Staff Reporter

Do you know about this email? Do you find spam emails an inconvenience? How have they affected you?

Your comments

I have been receiving calls from India that I have won $100,000 and I need to give information for them to transfer the money. I kept on talking till those people ran out of credit. I had received at least five calls from India for the same issue.
Posted: March 13, 2009, 15:19

I did receive the above mentioned email and I just deleted it. I often receive such emails with warning about some number or some message. It does get tiresome to read warning mails but we cannot avoid receiving them. Spam mails are making rounds and it has become difficult to decide whether to believe the message or not. I make it a point not to forward such messages and thereby break the link on my part. How can pressing a number or key delete all information from our computer? Some measures to curb such mails need to be initiated at the earliest. Though it is not much of an inconvenience it does leave a nagging doubt in the back of our minds.
Naina Nair
Posted: March 13, 2009, 10:25

I have received the same mail stating not to answer the miss calls received from Pakistan numbers, and njot to press '#09' or '#90' because by doing so it will make the person be able to access your personal information etc. As they said, some of the mails look like one from a government department beacuse these emails come with the department logo. I would request the authorities to find the exact source from and take necessary action.
Anoop Menon
Posted: March 13, 2009, 09:38

It is true that this is an old hoax that has been in circulation for years. I remember receiving such an e-mail when I was in college back in the Philippines and a lot of people have practically ignored it ever since. It keeps circulating here because people obviously don't take time to even think twice before forwarding it. Not many even researches about its authenticity. Perhaps because a lot of people don't get interesting mails in their inbox that they immediately mass mail it the minute they open it thinking that they have saved a lot of people from trouble. This is how spam spreads people! Mass mailers and spam bots (as we IT people call it) harvest e-mail addresses from everyone in the "To" field of the mails you forward. So if you feel the urge to forward something, try to use the CC or BCC field if possible, especially when using office e-mail accounts. And lastly, try researching about the e-mail either by copying the subject or a part of the e-mail body in Google (or any of your prefered search engines) and you'd find a lot of hits about it which would definitely tell you whether it's a hoax/urban legend or authentic.
Posted: March 13, 2009, 03:39

I had received this email two weeks ago, and have seen many variations of it over the last few years as an IT Admin. I just end up deleting them, but sometimes I reply back and inform people that this is just a hoax. People just panic and hit the forward button faster than they think logically how it could ever be possible.
Jaideep Khemani
Posted: March 13, 2009, 00:54