Hundreds fell victim to phone scams in UAE in 2019, police say
Police are stepping up efforts to combat scammers after revealing one resident was tricked out of Dh200,000
More than 500 people across the UAE fell foul of phone scammers last year, with one victim cheated out of Dh200,000, police said.
An increasingly sophisticated threat from cold-calling criminals has prompted police across the Emirates to send out a fresh warning to residents.
In an effort to combat a growing number of frauds, police in Abu Dhabi launched the 'Be Careful' campaign on Monday, to urge the public to be on their guard against offenders.
A senior officer said it is crucial that victims report crimes immediately, as any delay can greatly reduce the chances of recouping precious funds.
“When the victim comes to us after two or three days, his money would have already been fully withdrawn,” said Brig Amran Al Mazrouei, director of Abu Dhabi’s Criminal Investigations Department [CID].
The most common technique employed by tricksters remains the lure of a sizeable cash prize in return for the disclosure of sensitive financial information, such as bank account details.
It is a con that continues to fool people from all walks of life.
“A well educated person could fall victim, as well as a simple, uneducated person. There has been no common nationality or occupation for victims,” said Brig Al Mazrouei.
“Mobile phone scams have been on the rise during the past three years.”
The awareness campaign aims to reach a broad section of society, with brochures and lectures delivered in English, Arabic, Hindi and Urdu.
As part of the third annual 'Be Careful' campaign, residents have been invited to produce awareness videos, with the best entry scooping a Dh5,000 prize.
“We like to spread awareness through videos, and have victims tell their experiences first-hand,” said Brig Al Mazrouei.
Police across the Emirates are banding together to win the fight against fraudsters, teaming up on investigations to smash crime networks.
At the campaign launch, it was revealed that 525 phone scams were recorded in 2019, with police tracking down 142 offenders linked to 13 gangs.
“Investigations are ongoing to hunt down the rest,” said Brig Al Mazrouei.
Updated: February 10, 2020 07:04 PM