Payment for Covid vaccine, fake packages: 7 ways scammers try to rob customers in UAE

Representational image: Reuters
Representational image: Reuters

Dubai - First Abu Dhabi Bank explains how residents can protect themselves against fraudsters


Waheed Abbas

Published: Thu 26 Aug 2021, 9:52 AM

Last updated: Thu 26 Aug 2021, 10:15 AM

Scammers are taking advantage of fears related to the Coronavirus and using different methods to rob customers, the UAE's largest bank said.

"They are setting up websites to sell bogus products and using fake emails, texts and social media posts to take your money and get your personal information. The emails and posts may appear to be promoting awareness, with tips for prevention and misinformation about cases. They may ask you to donate to victims, offer advice about unproven treatments or contain malicious email attachments," First Abu Dhabi Bank said in an email sent to its customers to raise awareness.


>> Cybercrime, corporate fraud cost global economy $11tr

Below are the seven most common methods fraudsters use:

>> Do not pay to sign up for the vaccine: Anyone who asks for payment to put you on a list, make an appointment for you, or reserve a spot in line is a scammer. Vaccination centres, healthcare providers, government authorities or banks will never call, text, or email you asking for your credit card or bank account number to sign you up for the vaccine.

>> PPE for sale: Criminals will post fake advertisements online selling coronavirus-related protective equipment and health products, including face masks and hand sanitiser. They may even claim you can purchase a test kit. Once you have paid, the goods never arrive.

>> Impersonation emails: Criminals may impersonate organisations. They might send emails asking you to click on a link to receive more information, claim a refund, or donate money to help others. These links may take you to fake sites where you are asked to enter your personal information or bank details, or they may install malicious software on your computer or device.

>> Watch out for fake deliveries: Many delivery scams start with a text message or email about delivering a package to your address. These messages often include a nominal amount mentioned with a "tracking link" that you are encouraged to click in order to receive your delivery. While these messages often look or sound legitimate, you should never click a link or call a number from an unexpected delivery notice. Contact the delivery service or seller directly using a verified number or website.

>> Your money is at risk: A criminal may call you pretending to be from a bank or another legitimate organisation. They may tell you that your money is at risk and you need to transfer it to a new account immediately or that your bank account/debit card will be frozen if you don't update your documents and that you need to follow some process. This is a trick, and the criminal will get access to your financial information and money will be transferred to the criminal's account.

>> Validating security details: You may receive a text or email that appears to come from your bank. You may be asked to click a link to validate your security details and check that they are working correctly so that you can continue to access your account. The link will take you to a fake site to steal your details.

>> How to protect yourself: Stay alert for suspicious phone calls, texts or emails from anyone claiming to be from the bank or other trusted organisations. A bank will never ask a customer to share his PIN, password or personal details or to move money out of the account. Never download attachments or software or let anyone log in to your computer remotely following an unexpected call or email. If you are ever asked to do any of these things, refuse and contact the bank immediately.

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