Scam alert: 'Agencies' dupe Dubai residents by offering to supply maids

Hesham Salah/Dubai
Filed on March 1, 2021
Reuters file photo used for illustrative purposes

After receiving 14 similar reports, the police investigated the social media scam and managed to track down the suspects.

Beware of bogus housemaid agencies on social media, as the Dubai Police have uncovered a scam that emerged during the peak of Covid-19 last year. Fourteen reports had been filed about scammers who promised to fly domestic helpers into the country for a certain amount of money, but when they received the cash, they were nowhere to be found.

Brig Saeed Hamad bin Sulaiman Al Malik, director of Al Rashidiya Police Station, said the reports were received from the beginning of the Covid outbreak in 2020 until February this year.

“Scammers defrauded victims of Dh9,000 to 13,000 each, which they claimed were recruitment and administrative fees. They said they could bring domestic helpers into the country despite the temporary shutdown of the world’s airports due to the pandemic,” the officer said. “They exploited the suspension of labour recruitment and took advantage of people’s need of helpers during the quarantine period.”

Brig Al Malik said the fraudsters were able to steal a total of Dh87,520 from their victims. In one case, a scammer managed to offer a housemaid to a family but only to earn their trust. When they asked him for three additional helpers for a total amount of Dh35,000, he left them in the lurch.

“After transferring the sum into his bank account, the fraudster ignored their calls and requests for weeks, then he disappeared,” the officer said.

Brig Al Malik warned that these fraudsters would present a fake contract under the name of an agency as ‘proof’ that their offers were legitimate, but it was all for show.

Upon receiving the reports, the Dubai Police formed a special task force to investigate the cases. The team successfully tracked down and arrested the suspects.

The director of Al Rashidiya Police Station urged residents to rely only on authorised agencies for domestic worker recruitment.

In January this year, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation announced that starting March, citizens and expats will be able to hire domestic helpers only from Tadbeer centres. All other recruitment agencies are to be shut down, except for a few which will be given a chance to apply for Tadbeer licences.

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