Philippine Embassy warns nationals after online scams soar
Only registered financial companies are authorised to give advice on investment
Filipino workers in the UAE have been warned about online scams following reports of increasing numbers of fraud cases to embassy officials.
The Philippine Embassy in the Emirates has issued a public advisory notice against more than 30 companies it said were illegally soliciting funds from unsuspecting citizens.
Officials issued the notice on social media, encouraging residents to check the validity of any company claiming investment services by first checking the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission website.
The advisory warned residents about inviting others to join the schemes, as they could be held criminally liable for financial crimes.
Lawyer Barney Almazar, who has offered free legal advice at the Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi and its consulate in Dubai, said he had seen a spike in reports of victims of online scams.
“We have been getting fraud cases like fake bank account websites, where victims are given login details and a password with the promise they will be transferred millions of dirhams in cash,” he said.
“The victims are then told a lawyer will contact them claiming that a case has been opened against them for money laundering.
“We are also seeing investment scams involving crowdfunding opportunities.
“In the UAE, victims of financial crime can directly claim compensation for their losses pursuant to the Criminal Procedures Code, which grants those who have suffered a direct loss as a consequence of the crime to file a civil claim at any stage before the criminal court.”
Rogue traders behind a $200 million (Dh734.5m) Dubai foreign exchange scam exposed by The National targeted scores of Filipino nationals.
In 2018, two men involved were each sentenced to 500 years in prison for their role in the Exential ponzi scheme, a year for each criminal case submitted against them.
Updated: July 14, 2019 02:14 PM