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A montage of Facebook posts on the recent scam that victimized a Dubai resident.

PHOTO BY EXPAT MEDIA


Filipina in Dubai loses savings to fake McDonald’s website

A Filipina in Dubai lost most of the money in her bank account within five minutes of placing an order on a fake McDonald’s website, Expatmedia.net has learned.

“I had Dh1,115 in my bank account. When the scammer was done, all that was left was one dirham,” G. Acenas (full name withheld) told Expatmedia.net on Thursday (January 12).

The Filipina is the latest victim of online scammers using phishing websites to gain access to people’s bank accounts. The incident happened on January 8.

“My colleague ordered food on what she thought was a legit McDonald’s page that she saw on Facebook. Items were on promo,” Acenas told Expatmedia.net.

Acenas, who works for a beauty salon in Dubai, said her colleague then borrowed her debit card to order food after clicking on the link, but was not aware she was led to a scam website.

The Facebook post that advertised up to 70 percent discount on McDonald’s food items leads to phishing website mcdonald-uae.com. The official food delivery site for McDonald’s UAE is https://www.mcdelivery.ae while its corporate website is https://www.mcdonalds.com

In less than five minutes after her colleague keyed in her banking details through the scam site, Acenas was shocked to see a series of cash debits from her bank account.

“They took all the money in my account very quickly,” Acenas said. The scammer siphoned off money from her account in four cash debits done within a minute of each other.

Acenas has already alerted the Commercial Bank of Dubai about the fraud and hopes she will get her money back. The bank advised her that her bank account will be frozen as a precautionary measure.

The Filipina, who has lived in Dubai in the last five years, said this was the first time she fell victim to an online scam. She advises residents: “Do your due diligence in checking out the authenticity of websites and other offers on social media, especially when online payment is involved”.

Victims of fraud: How to get your money back from the bank

Scam victims will find their savings long gone after scammers target their bank accounts. If you have fallen victim to this type of fraud, how do you improve your chances of getting some or all of your money back?

The first thing to do is to contact the bank immediately. Once fraud is reported, the bank can freeze your account so that any further attempt to siphon money off it can be avoided. Your bank can then contact the beneficiary bank to where your money was sent, and inquire if the money sent there can be frozen.

It also helps if you have an account with banks that abide by a code of practice called Contingent Reimbursement Model (CRM), which is designed to refund scam victims who complied with certain obligations before and during the payment process. HSBC and Barclays are some of the banks signed up to CRM.

Another option is to file a consumer complaint with the UAE Central Bank. Once a complaint is submitted on the UAE Central Bank website, it will be reviewed and if the relevant financial institution validates your complaint, they are required to resolve it within 30 days.  Victims who have lost big amounts should consider contacting a law firm. ICA/Expat Media


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