Ramadan scammers posing as government officials have struck in the United Arab Emirates.
Bogus SMS texts and phone calls claiming bank debit and credit cards have been blocked by the UAE government are flooding the UAE.
The fraudsters are fishing for personal and financial information, falsely explaining the details are needed to unblock the cards.
The texts read: “ ‘Hello Sir, you ATM card has been blocked due to non-update your information with us. For more details call this number.”
If a victim responds to a message, crooks on the end of the phone explain they are from the Central Investigative Agency and that the government wants to link credit and debt cards to the Emirates ID system.
Don’t share bank details, warn police
Dubai Police have warned people against sharing their bank details.
“Never send money or share your bank details to online strangers. Protect yourself and data while using social networking sites. Protect yourself against social media scams,” said a spokesman.
The scam is the latest in a string of elaborate frauds across the UAE in recent months.
Only a month ago, scammers targeted Abu Dhabi residents claiming they had won fake prizes in a lottery and that their bank details were needed to send them large amounts of money.
Sharjah Police have issued an alert about scammers seeking bank details from victims responding to messages asking them to update their bank accounts online.
Col Ibrahim Al Ajill, director of the criminal investigation department (CID) at Sharjah Police, said: “The victims complained that cash was withdrawn from their bank accounts.
“The fraudsters asked victims to update personal data by clicking a link attached to the message. Once the link is clicked, fraudsters access the bank accounts to withdraw money. “Despite police efforts to intensify awareness among the public, residents continue to fall victim to such frauds. Some scamsters also offer personal loans to extract banking, credit/debit card or personal details, and drain out cash from the account. We urge the public to complete their banking transactions through the direct service windows of banks,” he added.
“Police departments are making efforts to crack down on what is believed to be organised gangs operating inside and outside the country.”