x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Protect the poorest from scams

Scammers have been targeting the UAE's Indonesian and Filipino maids. Should they get tips about how to keep safe?

Nothing about swindlers and scammers should really surprise any more but the news that they have been targeting Indonesian and Filipino maids in the UAE, cynically posing as potential suitors to plunder their victims’ meagre financial assets, feels like it hits a new moral low point.

This scam, like most of its predecessors, relies on a mix of the weaknesses and strengths of human nature: loneliness on one hand, and belief in the good of people on the other.

Such scams are almost as old as human society but the particular evil behind this manifestation is that the Filipino victims have also been watching from afar the devastation of their homeland.

There will also always be scammers, so the solution is a better educated community so potential victims are aware of their nefarious methods.

This raises a larger issue: should this process be formalised so that all new arrivals to the UAE get the basics about how to keep themselves safe? This could be done as a government service or, preferably, by the community groups for each of the main nationalities represented here.

Perhaps then they can address the isolation and loneliness that drives this kind of scam.