From Dh1,500 refund to 74% discount: UAE residents report 3 new scams they nearly fell for

Some admitted that the schemes were 'quite clever' and could easily trick someone into entering bank account details

by

Kirstin Bernabe

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Published: Tue 5 Dec 2023, 3:10 PM

Last updated: Wed 6 Dec 2023, 2:44 PM

These scams no longer work: A phone call claiming your bank account was frozen or you won a raffle you didn't join. An SMS saying you have a package waiting for you. You'd know right away that these are nothing but rackets, wouldn't you?

But what if you're told you're getting a 74 per cent discount on online shopping — right when super sales are happening everywhere? Or you received an e-mail about a refund from your utility services provider because you had been 'overcharged'?

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Scammers have been cooking up new ways to get your bank account details, and some of those who nearly fell for them could say the schemes were "quite clever".

A number of UAE residents took to Facebook to warn others of emerging scam tactics.

Here are three that we found on popular community groups with thousands of members:

1. Surprise! You're getting '74% off' your shopping bill

To get a 74 per cent discount is nothing unusual — especially in the UAE where super, mega, flash sales are happening throughout the year. Some retailers even offer 90 per cent off.

Filipina expat Charlaine Beluan went shopping online and had put seven bags and a watch into her cart, which were supposed to cost her Dh1,513.94. But when she was about to check out, she saw an incredible "lucky offer" that gave her a 74 per cent discount — slashing her bill to Dh363.16.

Here's a screenshot:

Something didn't feel right, so she posted it on the Facebook group 'Pinay Mums UAE' and asked if it was "legit" (legitimate). The mothers in the comments section said 'nope, it's a scam' — for the following reasons:

  • www.nine-westuae.com is not the official website of the brand (At Press time, this URL cannot be reached anymore.)
  • The brand identifies a different online e-commerce platform on its Instagram account.
  • The website's content and hyperlinks are questionable.
  • The logo on the website looks different.

Beluan did not proceed with the order — realising that the offer was too good to be true. Had she continued the process, her credit card could have been easily hacked.

2. A Dh1,549.80 refund from 'Dewa'?

A member of Reklamo Trip UAE — a popular Facebook group of Filipinos with nearly 37,000 followers — received an e-mail from 'Dewa', telling her that she would be getting a Dh1,549.80 refund because she was 'overcharged'.

The e-mail that Ella Suobiron received looked "official", with the logos of the Dubai Electricty and Water Authority (Dewa) and the emirate's government, as well as the UAE emblem.

The thing was that she didn't have a Dewa account — neither was she renting a flat on her own. She shared the screenshot with three laughing emojis because, to her, it was a big joke.

She knew, however, that It could trick others, so the post did raise alarm.

Here's a screenshot:

It turned out other members of the group had received the same e-mail, the comments section revealed.

One click on the 'Dewa' sender name would reveal a completely random e-mail address, clearly indicating that it was a scam — a phishing attack, more specifically. In such a scheme, hackers send out fraudulent e-mails, SMS, or any other "communications that appear to come from a reputable source", as defined by tech firm Cisco. The goal is to steal bank information, like credit card details.

In the fake Dewa e-mail above, clicking on the 'Apply' button would lead to a page where a user would be asked to enter credit card details — supposedly for the "refund".

"Do not click on the link! You will be hacked and your account will be wiped out," one Netizen reminded everyone in the group.

3. Selling an item online? Beware of this 'buyer'

Liz Panzo was trying to sell her winter sneaker boots on Facebook Marketplace, and someone messaged her, asking if the item was still available.

There was nothing suspicious in the conversation — until the "buyer" said she had already made the payment and booked for parcel delivery.

Panzo was asked to check her spam folder, and there she found an e-mail bearing the logo of a popular delivery service provider.

Here's a screenshot of the message:

The "buyer" said the mail was just for card verification and promised that she would get the payment afterwards.

When she clicked on the button that said "Clink here", she received what looked like an order form with numbers and a tracking process — and then the boxes for the card details followed:

Panzo said this wasn't the first time she received the message. She clicked on the link because she wanted to know how the scam worked.

Other members of the Pinay Mums UAE group said they also had a similar experience. When it happened to expat Angel-lyn Jaca, she said she called the delivery company to verify the details. As expected — all the details in the e-mail could not be found.

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