Swindlers find new ways to dupe Netizens

DUBAI - Internet swindlers are getting cleverer by the day, finding new ways to take Netizens for a ride.

By Prerna Suri

Published: Thu 24 Jun 2004, 9:55 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:03 PM

From online shopping scams designed to collect the recipient's credit card number to Nigerian money letters that try to obtain the victim's bank account details by offering to transfer large sums of money for safekeeping, the list of online frauds just goes on.

Fraudulent firms have joined the scam game with innovative ruses cloaking their activities in a credible manner, making their deceptiveness difficult to uncover.

With no concrete laws framed in the area of Internet security in the country, many are left with no choice but to stay quiet about their predicament.

Says Ismail M., a victim of one such scam, "I received a letter from a gentleman who claimed to be a Dubai-based banker and offered me a huge amount of money if I would pretend to be the next of kin of a deceased account holder of their bank."

"Curious to know more, I contacted him and in the process of enquiry he wanted my bank account number, through which he would be able to transfer the money directly to my bank. Imagine my surprise the next week, when I discovered that nearly half of my money had been transferred out of the bank. I contacted a couple of lawyers but they said that they were unable to help me out as the conman had already absconded," he lamented.

Another novel way through which online scams operate is through setting up recruitment companies in other countries, which demand money from applicants in the hope of securing them a lucrative job in Dubai.

A recent example of this was the uncovering of Saturn Jobs, a fraudulent recruitment company, which operated from Britain, and duped thousands of Indians and Bangladeshis of their money by promising them jobs in the Middle East.

The company had an office in Dubai that lent credibility to their operations and in the process pilfered thousands of dirhams from job seekers.

Neeta Goplani, paid a similar web site nearly Dh275 as a part of their registration fees after she was assured of a job placement. But with five months already passing by and no word from the company, she feels she has been tricked into paying an exorbitant amount and has been conned.

"I received an e-mail stating that I had been offered a job in Dubai and I had to pay the amount to show my interest in the offer. The people I was liaising with told me that I would be placed in a Dubai-based company within four months of my payment and that telephone interviews would also be arranged pending my payment, but five months have passed, and I still haven't heard a word from them," she said.

The concerned web site does not list a Dubai address, nor does it mention a local agent who could be contacted.

Computer security experts also warn that people should be more cautious while dispensing with their personal details such as credit card number and PIN over the web.

"You have to know who, what, when, where, how before you deal with any business that can disappear without a trace. I would only do business with a well-known web site which has a credible history," said Fredricks Andrade, a sales engineer.

The solution, say experts, lies in conducting business with only those sites that provide adequate protection to their customers.

"There are various companies which provide infrastructure services that makes the Internet more secure, such as Verisign and CompTrust. Customers should check whether the companies they are dealing with have such protection," said Derrick Perriera, a technical consultant.

Beware of fraudulent companies

Mohammed Hilal Al Muroushedi, Director of the Compliance Division, Dubai Department of Economic Developement (DED) told the Khaleej Times about fraudulent practices on the Internet, that consumers should be wary while dealing with companies on the Internet and should refrain from providing personal details to them.

"Since there are no laws which govern websites or the regulation of their practices in Dubai, the DED is quite limited in dealing with such companies. If the companies are registered in Dubai, then we have the jurisdiction to take some action against them. But if they are operating from outside the Emirate, we really have no control over their actions," he said.

"It is best to refrain from doing business with relatively unknown companies on the web as there is a chance that it might be a fraud," he added.

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