Scam calls: UAE warns phone users

Etisalat and du are both warning customers to be wary of scam callers pretending to be employees and offering lucrative promotions.

In a typical call, a supposed “employee” of one of the Telecom companies calls unsuspecting victims and promises huge prizes – sometimes of up to Dh500,000 – provided that one gives SIM card or Emirates ID numbers, as well as bank details and other personal information.

Both du and Etisalat, however, say that no such promotions are taking place and that they are working to raise awareness among their customers, identify the scammers and stop their activities.

“We work in different ways to inform and raise awareness among customers about scammers who pose as an operator’s employees and inform customers that they have won cash prizes and so on,” Etisalat said in a statement.

Additionally, Etisalat noted that the company has put several checks and balances in place to mitigate scam calls.

“We have rolled out several scam awareness campaigns for the customers and we will continue to raise awareness through mainstream media and social media as well,” the statement added. “We also work closely with relevant authorities to ensure that appropriate action is taken against fraudsters. We continue to urge them to be vigilant of such scams and not fall victim to such fraudsters.”

Du, for its part, said that it is taking incidents involving fraud “very seriously.”

“We would also like to urge all our customers that in the event of any suspected or potential scam, they should either immediately get in touch with our customer care team or approach law enforcement authorities,” the company added.

The fraudulent Etisalat and du calls are similar to another recent scam call, in which scammers posing as representatives of Expo 2020 Dubai promise sums of up to Dh2 million in “prize money” in exchange for personal information.

Like du and Etisalat, Expo 2020 said they are aware of the scams and are working with local authorities to stop them.

Scam calls are by no means unique to the UAE.

In the United States, for example, thousands of people across the country have for years reported scam calls from fraudsters pretending to be “agents” of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – America’s tax enforcement agency. In these calls, the supposed agents – who use fraudulent federal badge numbers – demand money or promise large tax refunds in exchange for personal information.

In the UK, police have recently warned local residents of a scam call in which callers working for a number of companies ask whether they can be heard. When the victim answers in the affirmative, their response is edited to make it appear as if they’ve verbally agreed to make a large purchase.


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