Financial scams in the UAE and how to avoid them

Many people consider the United Arab Emirates as a safe place to live. Since crime rate is relatively low in the UAE, this is somewhat true. However, a form of crime that transcends many people’s eyes in the UAE is financial scam. Examples of financial scams are rental scams that occur regularly in every UAE city including Dubai and Abu Dhabi. A classic example of this is the rental scam that made the headlines in 2012. The scam involved hundreds of rental-home seekers and homeowners. After scamming the residents of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the scammers fled the country with cash equaling millions of dollars.

The fraud was carried out by two foreign nationals who rented homes to tenants at ‘less-than’ market prices. The fraudsters took payments in the form of single cheques. On the other hand, they made written commitments to landlords to pay them an inflated rent. However, the payment would be made in four cheques rather than one—this is where the scam happened. Homeowners were able to cash in the first two cheques. However, the following cheques bounced. After scamming a good number of people, the scammers ran away from the UAE with rent cheques amounting to $ 2.5 million.

Another financial scam that robbed UAE residents of their hard-earned money was the home-based typing job that offered money in return for an initial deposit of AED 500 or US $150. Regardless of how fast they finished their work, the signees were paid US$ 50 at the end of each month. This way it took people three months just to break even.

On the other hand, the company owners made millions from thousands of signees in a short period of time. When the fraudsters had made enough, they shut down the company leaving the signees high and dry. Fortunately, the scammers were eventually caught and the money was recovered. However, fraudsters aren’t always caught. Therefore, adopting proactive measures to avoid them is important. So what are these proactive measures? The proactive measures include developing the ability to identify the aforementioned scammers.

The next question that you probably have in mind is how do I identify the financial scammers? There are two main mediums financial scammers in the UAE use to carry out their fraud. The two mediums include cold calling and phishing emails. Cold calling itself is not illegal. However, financial scammers use this medium to obtain information from you such as your email address or bank account/credit card detail so that they can hack it later on. Furthermore, they use your personal details to find out how much money they can extract out of you. You can avoid falling victim to cold calling fraud by not revealing your personal information to a cold caller.

Phishing emails are unsolicited emails from a financial institution that you receive in your inbox. An unsolicited email from a financial institution asking you to provide personal details is a warning sign that you’re a scammer’s target. You need to completely ignore such emails. Other ways financial scammers look to scam people in the UAE include Prize scams and street scams.