SHARJAH // Dozens of people have been arrested over a mobile-phone version of the scams that have plagued e-mail inboxes for years, police said. The alleged fraudsters sent text messages to mobile phone users, and then called them to saying they had won between Dh100,000 (US$27,000) and Dh500,000 in an Etisalat draw. To claim their prizes, the victims were told, they had to buy Dh1,000 to Dh1,500 of Etisalat credit, then send it to a number given to them by the caller, who claimed to represent a company entrusted by the telecommunications group to allocate awards.
Sharjah Police said they had arrested a total of 28 people in connection with the alleged scam. They said all 28 had confessed and would be soon referred to public prosecution. Police said the fraud was prevalent among Asian communities. They claimed the alleged criminals had brought friends from abroad on visit visas, and given them a list of numbers to target. Etisalat officials said they needed to study the detailed allegations before they could comment.