Warning! This Dubai Expo 2020 phone call is a scam

Warning! This Dubai Expo 2020 phone call is a scam

Dubai - Don't fall for that bogus prize money.

By Bernd Debusmann Jr. and Sherouk Zakaria

Published: Mon 5 Jun 2017, 1:48 PM

Last updated: Tue 6 Jun 2017, 3:32 PM

Expo 2020 has warned people against believing spam calls that are being made to mislead them.

"Expo 2020 Dubai is aware of these fraudulent acts, which mislead the public with non-existent competitions, and abuse the Expo 2020 Dubai name," said a spokesperson in a statement issued to Khaleej Times.

In most of such scams, the unwitting victims are promised large sums of "prize money", provided that they give SIM card and Emirates ID numbers, bank details and other personal information.

The spokesperson added that the organization is coordinating with Dubai Police and other relevant authorities to take the necessary legal action "to stop and prevent such fraudulent acts".

The administration confirmed that it is not and will not be launching such competitions.

Among those who have received the fraudulent calls is Sandra, a 23-year-old expat living in Dubai.

"I received a call from a person telling me he was working for Expo 2020, and saying I'd won Dh200,000," she recalled. "He told me to take his number down and check my SIM card to give him the number. He said to make sure to call him back, because I'd won."

"He kept calling back and I didn't answer," she added. "I obviously knew it was fake. I didn't enter any such thing, or any competition. I wondered to myself why the Expo people would be giving away all that money."

Another local resident -- who declined to be named -- said he received a similar phone call, in which he was offered Dh2 million.

"He was very insistent, but obviously it was bogus," he noted. "I asked a few questions, particularly why this would happen, and he had no answers at all."

The Scammers Speak

Khaleej Times called one of the scammers, a man who went by the name Ibrahim, who provided the reporter with a seven-digit "lottery winning number".

The scammer appeared to be working from a call center or office, with the voices of other men and typing noises being heard in the background.

"My friend, you've won Dh200,000 for Ramadan from Expo 2020," he said. "Now, you must switch off your mobile, check the SIM card, and if the number is okay, you call me back."

When the newspaper called back, the reporter was asked to provide a SIM card number, and told that the money would be transferred to a bank of his choice.

Khaleej Times was then transferred to another individual -- who claimed he was from the 'Business Department of Expo 2020'  -- who asked details of the model of the mobile phone, the length of time that the SIM card has been used and where in the UAE the reporter resides.

The reporter was then asked to provide his Emirates ID number, after which he was promised that he would be given the details necessary to claim his winnings from a local money exchange.

When told that Expo 2020 representatives are warning against such phone calls, the scammer responded with irritation.

"What are you thinking? Why would you call them?" he asked, before beginning a lengthy expletive-laden rant and threatening the reporter's mother and other female members of his family.

The scammer's phone number has since been shared with Expo 2020 representatives and Dubai Police.


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