UAE: Dewa urges residents to beware of 30th anniversary promotional scam

Dubai’s utility provider has urged people not to click on links or open attachments from unknown emails claiming to be from Dewa



by

Mazhar Farooqui

Published: Fri 28 Jan 2022, 2:56 PM

Last updated: Sat 29 Jan 2022, 8:03 AM

If you have received a WhatsApp message about a promotion offering 2,022 free gifts as part of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s (Dewa) 30th anniversary celebrations, be forewarned. It’s a phishing scam.

Dubai’s utility provider has urged people not to click on links or open attachments from unknown emails claiming to be from Dewa.

“Be careful of phishing messages. Inspect the senders’ email address before you open it; hackers can use emails to access your personal information including your credit cards,” warned Dewa.

In recent days, a fake message is doing the rounds on WhatsApp claiming Dewa is offering free gifts on the occasion of its 30th anniversary.

Clicking on the attached link takes you to a purported Dewa website which says: “Congratulations! Dubai Electricity and Water Authority – DEWA 30th anniversary celebration".

You are then asked to fill a short questionnaire.

A set of nine boxes flash on the screen when you submit the answers. You have to choose one of them to ‘win’ a free gift which includes Dh8,000 in cash.

Regardless of whichever box you pick, you ‘win’ the gift. The winner is then encouraged to share the message with five WhatsApp groups or 20 friends. There’s another catch: You have to download an app and enter your email address to receive the gift within five to seven days.

A similar fake message was circulated last year in the name of LuLu's 20th anniversary celebration. The retail giant had to eventually issue a statement about the fraudulent campaign.

Cyber experts said the viral messages are part of a phishing campaign to steal personal details.

“Cyber criminals can use the data to defraud you via identity theft,” said a cyber expert. “They can also use the link to install malware on your phone,” he said.

On Wednesday, the Dubai Police again issued a warning about the dangers posed by online fraudsters.

They took to Twitter to highlight the threat posed by cybercriminals and offered top tips on how to avoid these scams.

“Be careful of offers that sound too good to be true. Criminals can fake identities and trick you into believing you won something or got a good deal” the Dubai Police warned.

They also urged people not to click unknown links or disclose sensitive bank details.

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“Be careful when receiving suspicious calls or messages asking for personal information. Government officials including Dubai Police will not ask for personal details,” the police said.

Cyber criminals face stringent penalties for creating fake email accounts in line with amended cyber laws in the UAE.

According to the New Federal Decree Law no 34 of 21, offenders could be punished with up to five years in jail and a fine of Dh2 million.

The law also criminalises online surveys and polls without a permit with a jail term or a fine up to Dh500,000 or both.


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