People who buy raffle tickets for millionaire draws are always hoping to get a phone call or message that they have just hit the jackpot. However, it would be wise to not get too excited about every single phone call and SMS telling you that there is a remarkable turnaround in your fortune because many of the times these good news messages are nothing but scams to steal your money.
Due to rising cases of raffle ticket scams, Dubai-based telecom operator du has issued a warning to all its subscribers, asking them to be aware of and exercise caution with regards to calls and SMS from strangers, telling them they have just won a prize. The text sent to all its customers reads as, “Please ignore calls from unknown people, informing you that you have won a prize, especially if you did not take part in any competition or draw.”
However, there hasn’t been any definitive figure quoted from du about lottery scam racket that affected its users.
There are numerous legitimate lotteries and raffle prizes offered by companies in the UAE that are bestowing astonishing prizes to participants. From a luxury car, to kilos of gold and millions of dirhams in hard cash, these legal raffle companies are actually giving winners all these promised prizes. While all these legal lotteries are attracting many people, there are scammers who are using the credibility of legal businesses to rip people off. When there are some individuals literally becoming millionaires overnight, there are many who are losing their money to these raffle scams every day.
Scammers work proficiently and sound quite legitimate. Also the abundance of legitimate telemarketing campaigns has made it very tricky to spot a lottery scammer. However, there are some common signs of prize and raffle scams that you should look out for.
Scammers will demand extra money
Legal lotteries and raffle draws don’t demand any money after participants have bought tickets. There is no concept of paying any extra fee to improve the chances of winning in legal prize draws. On the other hand, shady lottery schemes ask ‘winners’ to deposit money in the name of processing fee or handling fee, and even levy taxes before winners get their prizes.
Even if you are asked to wire money through trustworthy banks and agents in exchange for the release of prize money, don’t fall into this trap. There are strong chances that once you wire them the money, you won’t be able to contact them again.
They will lure you through checks
Scammers who are more professional in their approach would even send prize checks to gain your trust. You will be then asked to send a portion of the total value to them immediately. Soon you will find out that the check is fraudulent and then there is no use of trying to contact perpetrators because they won’t be reachable.
Discount frauds on the behalf of du
It looks like some other scammers are also using the telecom services of du to scam people. While du is warning its customers for prize draw scams, another scam has surfaced in the UAE in which scammers contact residents and offer them discounts on their bills. Du has warned people to decline all such offers in which they are asked by ‘fake’ du staff member to pay their bills at discounted rates. According to du, these scammers use stolen credit cards for the purpose.
They have also informed customers to be cautious of all those calls asking for bank details since the telecom company does not need such information for any of their promotional offers.
Persistence of telecom scams & government’s incompetence
Apart from du, other telecom companies have also issued such warnings to their users after regular intervals. This shows that scams carried out via telecommunication services are not witnessing any breaks.
It also indicates that the government of the UAE is not taking necessary measures on its part to curb this problem. There exists a perception that the government doesn’t take these scams very seriously since they don’t involve billions of dirhams, and most of the victims of those scams are common Emiratis and expats. The lax attitude of the government is encouraging scammers and fraudsters to continue their nefarious activities.