UAE: Never disclose banking info to callers on the phone, police urge as cases increase

Authorities do not ask for personal data related to bank accounts over the phone



by

Afkar Ali Ahmed

Published: Sat 8 Jan 2022, 10:37 AM

Though police, banks and security agencies in the UAE have intensified their efforts to warn residents against disclosing their personal information to callers, many people still fall victim to fraud.

Over the past two years, authorities said such cases had declined, but has increased again, as multiple gangs are operating networks inside and outside the country.

Top officials at Dubai Police and the northern Emirates said the issue is of serious concern. They stressed that phone scams are one of the most serious threats facing customers, as fraudsters impersonate bank employees to obtain personal information and steal their money.

Captain Abdullah Al Shehi, deputy director of the Cyber Crimes Department at Dubai Police, said scammers are now targeting older people by posing as police officers or government representatives to steal victims' money.

"Banks, police or government officials do not ask for personal data related to bank accounts over the phone," Al Shehi stressed.

He also urged residents not to respond to text messages, which contain warnings that their card could be blocked if they don't update their account details by providing their debit card number and PIN. "It's a trick to steal cash from the bank account," he said.

Direct methods

Jamal Salem Al Jallaf, director of Criminal Investigations Department (CID) at Dubai Police, said criminals are using a new method to steal cash from victims.

First, people are lured for massage services. Then, they are tied up and assaulted until they hand over their credit or debit card, along with their PIN, following which the criminals withdraw money from their accounts.

Intensified efforts

Lt-Col Saeed Khalfan Al Naqbi, head of CID at Sharjah Police, said the force recently launched a new awareness campaign to protect community members against electronic fraud.

The police are also educating people about electronic crimes and fraud methods to limit these crimes and keep the society safe.

Al Naqbi said a security team has also been formed, in cooperation with banks and some government institutions, to reduce such crimes. He called on residents to cooperate with banks and police by reporting the fraud and suspending their accounts immediately.

Cases

The CID at Sharjah Police received a complaint from a hospital patient who said someone used Dh9,300 from his Visa card to make an online purchase.

"It was found that an accountant and a cleaner at a private hospital were using the patient's Visa card to purchase products on the Internet," an official from Sharjah Police said.

Meanwhile, in Dubai, several people were scammed after they responded to a text message that claimed their debit card would be blocked if they didn't update their information.

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One victim was an older Asian woman, who told police that a man with broken English called her and asked her to provide her bank number and PIN details. A few days later, she received messages saying that cash had been withdrawn from her account.

Lt-Col Ahmed Saeed Al Nuaimi, CID director at Ajman Police, said the police started investigating after receiving a complaint from a woman who had been scammed. She lost Dh10,000 after providing her bank details to the unknown caller, who claimed he was a bank executive.

The police then arrested a gang of three Asians, including a woman, for allegedly stealing more than Dh2.8 million for people's bank accounts through phone calls.


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