Online scam has become more prevalent and sophisticated, and authorities in the United Arab Emirates are aware of these sneaky moves fraudsters employ. More than just women getting scammed by folks who pretend to be their knight in shining armor, they are also involved in taking over their bank accounts, sucking their funds dry.
The Dubai Police has since issued an alert to the public about sharing bank accounts, personal details or sending funds online to people they don’t know.
While digital platforms made it easier for people worldwide to communicate and spread information, they have also become more exposed to scammers in the process.
A common method to scam online is phishing, in which fraudsters gain control of someone’s access such as bank accounts by tricking victims into providing vital information. For example, they can pass off a fake website as a legitimate one and retrieve the victim’s password, email address, date of birth and other information provided by the party being deceived.
The scammer can also gain access to the account by pretending to be a representative from a victim’s bank, police or tax authorities. The victim then realizes he or she has granted someone access to his or her account a little too late.
To ensure your details don’t land in the wrong hands, here are a few tips from Fraud.org:
Beware of “phishing” emails.
Fraudsters can pretend to be from a legitimate retailer, bank, organization, or government agency. The sender asks by email to “confirm” your personal information for some made-up reason: your account is about to be closed, an order for something has been placed in your name, or your information has been lost because of a computer problem.
Phishers may also pose as representatives of the fraud department of a popular company and pretend to verify your information because they suspect you may be a victim of identity theft.
Avoid clicking on links within emails that ask for your personal information.
Links are embedded in emails to trick people into accessing fake websites that look just like the real sites of the company, organization, or agency that fraudsters are impersonating. If you follow the instructions and enter your personal information on the website, you’ll deliver it directly into the hands of identity thieves. To check whether the message is really from the company or agency, call it directly or go to its official site.
Never enter your personal information in a pop-up screen.
Sometimes, a phisher will direct you to a real company’s, organization’s, or agency’s website, but then an unauthorized pop-up screen created by the scammer appears out of the blue, with blanks in which to provide your personal information. If you fill it in, your information will go to the phisher. Legitimate companies, agencies, and organizations don’t ask for personal information via pop-up screens. Install pop-up blocking software to help prevent this type of phishing attack.
Be wary when some contacts you and says you’ve been a victim of fraud.
If this happens, the first thing you want to do is verify the person’s identity before you provide any personal information. Legitimate credit card issuers and other companies may contact you if there is an unusual pattern indicating that someone else might be using one of your accounts. But usually they only ask if you made particular transactions; they don’t request your account number or other personal information. Law enforcement agencies might also contact you if you’ve been the victim of fraud. To be on the safe side, ask for the person’s name, the name of the agency or company, the telephone number, and the address. Get the main number from the phone book, the Internet, or directory assistance, then call to find out if the person is legitimate.
Be suspicious if someone contacts you unexpectedly and asks for your personal information.
It’s hard to tell whether something is legitimate by looking at an email or a website or talking to someone on the phone. But if you’re contacted out of the blue and asked for your personal information, it’s a warning sign that something is not right. Legitimate companies and agencies don’t operate that way.
Armed with such knowledge, Filipino and other workers in the United Arab Emirates must be mindful of their online activities, never overshare information and be vigilant against the tell-tale signs as described above.