Consumers are being warned not to fall prey to an email scam that claims to offer large loans at attractive rates with the endorsement of the Governor of the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC).
The fake emails circulating from address firstname.lastname@example.org state they represent His Excellency Abdullah Mohammed Saleh, Governor of the DIFC, and offer to lend as much as $3.5m at an interest rate of 3.5% a year.
It falsely advises consumers that the DIFC provides loans for investment projects subject to fulfilling certain requirements, including handing over 'application fees'.
Other fake criteria include providing a project report or a feasibility study, incorporating the business in the Ajman free-zone, obtaining a "General Licence Certificate" from the Chamber of Commerce, and signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the DIFC.
The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has issued an alert on its website, saying the e-mails are linked to organised fraud.
"The DIFC does not provide access to lines of credit, charge fees for accessing funds, or require individuals or companies to be licensed or registered with any freezone in the UAE other than the DIFC," the regulator says in the statement.
Neither the DIFC nor the DFSA communicates through e-mail addresses with the domain name 'boardmemberdifc.org', it said.
The DFSA said the MoU is a false document which has been used by the scammers to legitimise fraudulent activity.
The regulator also corrects a false statement in the email which states the DIFC is a financial institution. The DIFC is a 110 acre free-zone located within the city of Dubai.
Consumers are being encouraged to contact the DFSA if they have any concerns about the authenticity of any DIFC or DFSA correspondence or documents.