Dubai: RTA issues warning after Khaleej Times exposes deceptive Nol card scam

A resident had lost Dh1,051 to one such fraudulent website while attempting to recharge with Dh10

by

Mazhar Farooqui

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

Published: Thu 11 Jan 2024, 4:21 PM

Last updated: Sat 13 Jan 2024, 6:11 PM

The Road Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai has issued a warning to customers and users of public transport and Nol cards regarding fraudulent marketing campaigns involving the sale of fake Nol cards.

This caution comes in the wake of a recent report by Khaleej Times, which uncovered deceptive websites mimicking the RTA's platform to defraud individuals seeking to top up their smart cards.

In a message on X, formerly twitter, it said: “RTA urges its valued customers, users of public transport and nol cards, to be careful not to deal with deceptive marketing campaigns that aim to exploit digital service users.”

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The RTA also highlighted concerns related to the sale of counterfeit Nol cards at nominal prices, deceptive practices in topping up credit, and the unauthorised collection of customer data.

“RTA strongly advises exercising caution and vigilance when dealing with such campaigns by using RTA services only, such as the website (rta.ae) ticket offices, vending machines and (RTA Dubai and nol pay) applications," it said.

Of late, a concerning trend has emerged, with several people experiencing significant financial losses due to counterfeit RTA websites. Among the recent victims is Dubai resident Mohammad Salman, who lost Dh1,051 to one such fraudulent website while attempting to recharge his Nol card with Dh10.

The RTA also issued a warning to residents to beware of fraudulent accounts posing as RTA and using the official logo to interact with the public and responding to inquiries. The authority has strongly advised people to be cautious, stay vigilant, and ensure that they only follow verified official accounts (@rta_dubai on X).

The authority has reminded that it does not take any responsibility for interactions or information obtained from unofficial accounts.

Search results

Compounding the issue is that the first four search results when Googling 'Nol recharge' are all deceptive websites. Clicking on these sites redirects users to spoofed landing pages, demanding sensitive information such as the Nol tag ID, email address, and recharge amount. Those who unwittingly follow through with the process are then led to confirm the payment, creating an illusion of legitimacy.

Salman, caught in a rush, admitted, “I didn’t see the amount as I was in a hurry and copied the OTP from the payment window.” Even upon realising that Dh1,051 had been deducted instead of Dh30, he initially believed he had mistakenly added extra credit to his smart card, stating, "I thought I wouldn't have to worry about topping my card for some time."

Cyber experts said the fact that deceptive platforms dominate search results underscores the need for heightened awareness and caution among users.

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