Scam message (right) from fraudsters using the UAE Central Bank's name.


UAE Central Bank reveals 3 common scams during Covid-19


DUBAI – The UAE Central Bank has warned UAE residents of common scams during the Covid-19 pandemic, saying scammers are “very likely to target the vulnerable”.

The UAE Central Bank, in an advisory, said “coronavirus scammers” have taken advantage of the situation and are “sophisticated, opportunistic and will try many things.”

This week, residents reported receiving scam messages on social media, purportedly from the UAE Central Bank, asking them to verify their account details. The UAE Central Bank has repeatedly warned customers against scammers using its name to defraud victims.

“Consumers should be cautious and watch out for scams during the Covid-19 period,” the UAE Central Bank cautioned.

Covid-19 click bait on email, text

The authority said that fraudsters use countless methods to carry out scams through email, text messages, phone calls and home visits “all in an attempt to encourage you to provide money or personal information”.

“Unsolicited email and text messages may also trick you into clicking for more information about a cure for Covid-19 or for free face masks,” the Central Bank said.

Scams related to sales of insurance, treatments, PPE

Fraudulent methods may take many forms and could be about selling added protection goods and services against the coronavirus by asking victims to buy added health or income insurance policies, medicinal treatments, masks and other medical equipment.

“Such fraudsters attempt to sell and take your money while never intending to deliver or to deliver substandard goods. These fraudsters aim to commit fraud by obtaining your money directly or through your credit card and other personal information,” the UAE Central Bank warned.

Scam investments or charities

Scammers may also approach their victims to invest in high-return investment opportunities in what are likely non-existing business.

“They may claim to have invented a cure for the virus or have technology or other innovations that will be in demand by hospitals. Do not provide any funds for investments or provide any personal information until you talk to your licensed investment broker or advisor first. They should be able to determine the credibility of the investment and claims,” the UAE Central Bank advised.

The Central Bank also urged UAE residents to be cautious of solicitations for donation of money to charities to help those who are affected by Covid-19.

“Never provide cash, credit cards or personal information without verifying the legitimacy of the charity. Do not be pressured into giving immediately. Take your time to confirm the charity is registered and licensed with the government,” the Central Bank said.

How to protect yourself from scammers

– Reject offers of products or services that come from unknown or unverified persons, social media, emails, etc.

– Do not rely on promises in advertisements, on social media and paid for/sponsored adverts online.

– Use reliable sources and official websites to check who you are dealing with.

– Be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls, email or text messages. Fraudulent phone calls, e-mails and texts use false identity to cloak their true identity. Do not click on links or open emails from senders you don’t know.

– Avoid being rushed or pressured into making a decision, talk with your family or financial advisor before deciding on any business activities.

– Never disclose any personal details, such as bank details, address, financial information including insurance, pensions or investment details to any unknown person.

Source: UAE Central Bank

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