Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 27 May 2020

Ramadan: UAE police warning over fake charities and 'WhatsApp begging' scams

Abu Dhabi Police said many ploys appeal to people's good nature during the holy month

Social media scams and appeals for help from unregistered charities are common during Ramadan. Getty Images
Social media scams and appeals for help from unregistered charities are common during Ramadan. Getty Images

Criminals are using fake charity appeals to con UAE residents out of money this Ramadan.

Abu Dhabi Police urged the public to be aware of fraudulent attempts to tap into the willingness to donate to good causes.

Users are encouraged to forward on charitable appeals with links to websites and bank accounts.

Officers said the scam was an extension of "traditional begging, which includes propitiating people by misleading methods and tricks, dramatic stories and fabricated accounts to drain victims’ savings".

Police urged members of the public who receive such emails or messages to call 8002626 (AMAN2626) or by text messages (2828) or via email aman@adpolice.gov.

In previous years, officers have warned of the rise of 'begging tourism' - in which a flight to the Emirates is lucrative enough for criminals to fly in to make money.

Of the 243 people arrested for begging offences throughout the holy month in 2018 in Dubai, 60 per cent were carrying visit visas.

Beggars are been arrested with tens or hundreds of thousands of dirhams in the past.

Individual beggars will spend up to three months in jail and pay at least a Dh5,000 fine.

People found to be running organised betting gangs are subject to a minimum jail term of six months and a fine of at least Dh100,000.

Updated: May 2, 2020 09:14 PM

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