Abu Dhabi: As many as 525 cases of fraud, including those involving mobile phones, were registered last year in Abu Dhabi and 142 people arrested in over the past 13 months, a senior official from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Abu Dhabi Police said on Monday.
Addressing a media briefing, Abu Dhabi Police said two gangs comprising 28 Asians were arrested for phone frauds this month in cooperation with Dubai and Ajman police.
The arrests took place even as the third drive to raise awareness about mobile phone and online scams was underway. The multi-lingual campaign used Arabic, English, Urdu and Hindi languages to educate people about the false claims of prizes being won made on phones. Scamsters also posed as bank employees to get customers divulge their bank details.
Mobile phone scams have been rampant with community members falling prey to skilled scamsters who use various tricks to steal people’s money, the police said.
13 gangs involved
Brigadier General Omran Ahmad Al Mazrouei, Director of Criminal Investigations Department at Abu Dhabi Police, said, “We have arrested 142 people in the past 13 months in fraud cases. They included 13 gangs and 525 cases of frauds which were registered last year in the emirate.”
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations managed to return part of the money of the victims in some cases, he said.
A fraud case video, which was showcased at the briefing, stated that a person received an audio message from his wife sharing the good news that they had won Dh200,000 as a cash prize. She asked him to phone the Emirati number from which she received the call.
When the husband called the number, the receiver demanded for his Emirates ID and ATM card copies – front and back - to deposit the prize money. But he was surprised when Dh200,000 was debited from his account, instead of being deposited.
He immediately reported the matter to the police and thankfully recovered the money with their help.
Lt. Col. Youssef Mohamad Al Zaabi, Deputy Director of Criminal Investigation Department and Director of the Phone Scam Project, said prompt reporting of frauds would elicit a prompt response, enhancing chances of the money being recovered.
The police warned community members not to give any personal or bank details to anyone on the phone as such information may be exploited for fraudulent purposes.
The police has launched a video competition on innovative ways to raise awareness about mobile scams. Winners will be awarded with cash prizes ranging from Dh2,000 to Dh5,000. The video should be a minute-long and it will be published online. People can send their submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org before March 1.
Tips to avoid scams:
- Don’t share personal information or bank details with any unknown person over the phone
- Don’t talk for long to unknown people over the phone
- Don’t provide Emirates ID and bank details
- Don’t send electronic number or pin to an unknown caller
- Call 8002626 for help and report any suspicious incident