No, UAE Central Bank won’t ask for your account or card details

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on December 5, 2019 | Last updated on December 5, 2019 at 07.13 am
central bank of UAE, whatsapp scam, scam in UAE, banking details, username, password, CVV code


We also called up one of the scammers. Here's what happened.

A 'legal notification' purportedly from the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) is doing the rounds on social media. If you haven't guessed already, it's indeed a scam designed to get bank account-related details of gullible residents.

Scamsters are sending out posters on WhatsApp and other social media, warning residents that their credit cards are being frozen. The fake notice read: "(Sic) Sorry, dear customers. Your bank account (ATM, debit, credit cards will freeze due to security reasons). Verify all your correct details, otherwise, the account will be suspended permanently."

The notice ends with a bogus signature by a 'Central Bank manager'. Residents are instructed to call on two mobile phone numbers within 24 hours.

A Dubai-based Indian resident M.C., who received the poster, said: "My colleague and I received the poster. It is bizarre the lengths people will go to cheat people and make a quick buck."

Central Bank advisory

The CBUAE has warned residents that is not a retail bank and does not carry out transactions or hold funds for members of the public. "If you have been informed via e-mail, social media, telephone or post that you have a claim on or have funds held at the CBUAE or you have received any documents or details of investment opportunities that appear to come from the CBUAE, it is likely to be fraudulent," it said.

According to an advisory posted on the Central Bank's website, the bank advised caution against responding to fraudulent e-mails and Internet posts made in its name. "The CBUAE is aware that its name and the names of some of its employees are sometimes used to progress different forms of fraud, perpetrated against third parties. Some of these scams are attempts at identity theft, including fraudulent e-mails, faxes, including copies of our website."

E-mails or letters are sent proposing various schemes such as offering loans, investment opportunities or participation in financial transactions, and/or requiring an advance payment in connection with a transaction supposedly to be made through the CBUAE.

"These fraudulent materials use the CBUAE's name, logo and address, as well as names of our staff and management from time to time - all without CBUAE's permission. The CBUAE requests you to be alert and always confirm the authenticity of any e-mails or documents you receive," said the advisory. "We urge you to make sure that all communications are legitimate and not to send money to any unauthorised individuals or institutions. The CBUAE can take no responsibility for losses arising from these sites, services or documents."

KT calls up the fraudsters so you don't have to

Khaleej Times dialled up one of the two numbers mentioned on the fraudulent poster. Here's what happened.

> The scamster gave us a randomly-generated name and put us on hold for five minutes, while loudly tapping away on a keyboard

> A little later, a second man responded, and said: "Yes, your bank account is compromised. Please provide us with your Emirates ID details to unblock the account."

> He then asked us for our bank account details, debit card number, and the three-digit CVC number behind the card

> He told us: "After this, you will get a confirmation SMS on your number registered with the Central Bank. Please provide us that one-time password (OTP) as well."

> We immediately hung up.

> Both callers spoke in poor English and were more comfortable speaking in Urdu, Hindi or Arabic.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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