Beware: New scam in UAE targets jobseekers
The scammers offer hefty salaries for just clicking a link.
While scam methods using SMS, email or WhatsApp messages are familiar to the residents in the UAE, a new scam is targeting motorists and jobseekers to steal their personal information.
Sayed Abdulwahhab, a Sudanese resident, said the scammers offered him a miraculous salary of over Dh33,000. "One may get this salary by just clicking on a link. It is all about this miraculous link that will end all your sufferings and problems."
Israa Gad, a Lebanese resident said she also received a scam job offer. "The scammers asked me to click on a link for further information on a lucrative job offer."
Mohammed Khalef, an IT engineer, said as long as people are using Internet, smart devices and mobile phones, they will be vulnerable to such scams. "One should be extra alert all the time, consult experts and always double check before making any decision to transfer money to anyone, even a friend."
Love scams, lottery rewards and raffle draws associated with hypermarkets are traps of the scammers who keep thinking of new tricks all the time to steal personal information, bank accounts and credit cards, or abuse the private data or pictures they get hold of, he added. "One should be cautious whenever he receives an email from an unknown source, consult friends or experts, and report such suspicious practices to the law-enforcement bodies concerned."
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), in a statement on Wednesday, cautioned the public about such fake WhatsApp scam messages.
"If one clicks the link in the message, it would give away the personal information of the user," The TRA warned, urging the public to ignore such messages and stay safe. "Interacting with such messages could result in your WhatsApp account being stolen."
Hacking company emails
Professional emails have also been a target of such scams and hacking attacks, as was the case with Ayman Al Durra, a Palestinian copywriter based in Dubai.
"My professional email inbox is full of similar messages in which the sender said he was a representative of Gmail, Outlook or Microsoft, claiming that I had a problem with my email account and need to update my personal data."
Luckily, Al Durra checked the email address of the sender as advised by an IT expert. "Of course, there were some misleading words like 'Outlook', 'Gmail' or 'Microsoft' in the email address, but they were each associated with weird and suspicious words."
Abdullah Al Shehi, an Emirati citizen, said he received a WhatsApp message on a case filed against him. "The message said that a lawsuit under certain number has been filed against me and asked me to click a trapping link for more details."
The latest scam message on WhatsApp tells users that "after scanning our servers, we found that your account is not confirmed, and it will be deleted because someone is claiming to have that account".
It claims it sent the user an authentication code to the registered phone number to confirm that account is truly theirs. The user is told to send the code back on the same chat to "verify" the account, else the WhatsApp account will be closed within 24 hours. "The message is signed as "WhatsApp Support Team".