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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Expo 2020 caution UAE residents against phone scams offering large cash prizes

Expo 2020 clarifies that it has not organised any competitions that promise big money rewards via phone calls, texts or Whatsapp

A message via Whatsapp claiming to be from Expo 2020 announcing that the recipient has won a large sum of money. Chris Whiteoak / The National
A message via Whatsapp claiming to be from Expo 2020 announcing that the recipient has won a large sum of money. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Residents have been cautioned against sending personal information to callers pretending to be from Expo 2020 asking them to register for a cash award.

Expo 2020 has said it is not conducting any phone competitions offering prizes or cash rewards and that all contests were publicly announced. Officials have asked people who suspect a scam to check with the Expo 2020 directly.

Both du and Etisalat users have received phone calls and text messages from a person or people instructing them to remove their mobile SIM card and read out the numerals imprinted on it.

The residents are told they have been selected in a lucky draw but require to deposit some money.

“In the event any person suspects a fake call, message or any other communication about a competition or campaign, please contact us at legal@expo2020.ae,” an Expo official said.

“Expo 2020 Dubai confirms that it does not currently have any phone competitions offering prizes, cash and/or in-kind rewards. Any Expo 2020 Dubai competitions or campaigns are announced publicly on Expo 2020 Dubai’s official social media accounts and official website.”

The amount asked for varies between Dh200 and Dh500, said a du user who reported receiving repeated phone calls about the award.

“It was just text messages at first and then many phone calls saying I had won an award. I finally got fed up and said I would call the police. The calls stopped then,” said a Dubai resident.

One garbled Whatsapp message filled with errors read, “Congratulations: Dear customer; your number has been selected Expo2020 department you; have won big Cash prize from in lucky draw your winning; amount is AED 200000; Please contact me on this numbers. Give you all information. Thank you.”

Residents had reported last year as well that they were contacted by fraudsters asking for their SIM card number, bank details and Emirates ID number because they had won an Expo 2020 competition.

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In another scam, residents were asked to complete an online survey in exchange for free tickets on Emirates. When interested participants attempted to complete the survey, hackers tried to access their devices for personal data.

Both the Expo group and Emirates then advised residents to immediately report such calls and messages to the police so action could be taken.