UAE: Fraudsters impersonate major broker Equiti, scam investors out of millions of dirhams

Financial regulator issues warning as several victims report losses, including Dubai Bling star Lojain Omran


Mazhar Farooqui

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Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: RTA
Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: RTA

Published: Wed 27 Mar 2024, 5:16 PM

Last updated: Thu 28 Mar 2024, 12:23 AM

The UAE's Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) has issued a warning to investors regarding an unlicensed company allegedly impersonating the licensed UAE-based global broker, Equiti. Investors, including prominent figures like Dubai celebrity Lojain Omran, have reportedly fallen victim to the scam.

In its warning issued on March 27, the SCA said that MRL Investments, operating under the website, is not licensed by the authority and has no affiliation with Equiti Securities Currencies Brokers LLC (ESCB LLC) that operates under the licensed brand name of ‘Equiti’.

SCA emphasised that Equiity has no connection with Equiti which is licensed by SCA to engage in trading derivative contracts and currencies.

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Recently, Lojain Omran shared on Snapchat her unfortunate experience of losing $27,000 to Equiity. In the post she also urged caution (screengrab below), emphasising the importance of conducting thorough research before engaging with any financial entities.

However, she could not be reached by Khaleej Times for a comment.

Lojain Omran. Photo: AFP file
Lojain Omran. Photo: AFP file

Equiti, a well-established global fintech group, with a Dubai metro station named after it, confirmed that they approached the SCA upon discovering the fraudulent misrepresentation made by Equiity, MRL Investments, and a third-party contact centre based in Sharjah. For legal reasons, the name of the Sharjah-based company is withheld by Khaleej Times.

Equiti said companies using the duplicitous trade name ‘EQUIITY’ coax deposits via telephone, through or the Equiity app.

Victims said they were contacted by a call centre located in Sharjah. "This company falsely claimed to be associated with Equiti, citing the company's SCA license and Dubai metro station affiliation, even though the license number was not displayed on their own website. By exploiting Equiti's reputation, the scammers convinced victims to deposit funds through websites or apps connected to the scam," said Equiti in a statement.

Mohammed AlAhmad Ketmawi, Equiti Group co-founder and CEO of ESCB said several misled investors have reached out to Equiti in recent days, with some reporting individual losses of up to half a million dollars.

Equiti has been working closely with regulatory authorities, such as the UAE’s SCA and Mauritius’ FSC, to investigate these incidents and support the integrity of the industry in addition to taking legal and police actions against such fraudsters/impersonators.

Equiti has also urged investors to check the footer of a website for the company’s regulatory details, to always call officially provided and verified company numbers, to offer to call back if contacted by an unrecognised phone number, or to refer to regulators' websites for confirmation of a company’s contact details and license validity before transfer.


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