A very dear friend of mine have recently been a victim of a scam. The name of the construction company, or the family will not be disclosed for privacy, as it is currently being looked at by all parties, including Dubai Police.
With their permission, we are putting this piece together in hopes that it will bring awareness to everyone in Dubai.
The family have recently bought a villa in Dubai, and they are currently undergoing renovation works, done by a construction company.
As part of the agreement, payment would be done over various stages of the works. The works have been going on for weeks now, and the family was due to pay one of the initial payments.
Phishing Email Scam
The scammer had somehow, found out about the construction works that was happening.
- They created fake email accounts (as we might know as phishing) – for all parties in the correspondence.
- Pretending to be the family (both husband and wife), they contacted the Construction Company, to ask for a copy of the invoice that was due.
- The Construction Company sent the actual invoice to the scammer, whom they thought was the family.
- The scammers edited the invoice, increased the sum due, as well as the bank account number.
- Using the fake email accounts for the construction company that they created, they got back in touch with the family, and sent the fake invoice to them.
What happened next?
Not aware that it was the scammers that had sent them the invoice, the family – paid them, via bank transfer.
The invoice was legit – with the company name, stamp and all. After all, it did come from the Construction Company. It had just been amended by the scammers.
The current situation
As of writing this piece, the whole thing is being investigated right now.
The family had paid a large sum (around 200,000 AED) to the “construction company”, which was in fact the scammers. It’s something that could happen to absolutely anyone.
Be very, very careful
If you are currently doing any renovation works, buying property, renting property, building property – which is booming in Dubai right now – be very, very careful. There are a lot of scammers out here looking for a win. This whole ‘Dubai is so safe’ thing is absolutely perfect for scammers.
Arabian Business recently published a piece whereby a 30-member gang was arrested for a 32 Million AED embezzlement.
We are no expert in this, but maybe the following could be a start :
- Keep an eye out on the emails that you are receiving. Check the email addresses – it could be a tiny edit.
- Follow up with phonecalls when you receive an invoice, to make sure it is legit.
- Double check bank account numbers via phone, or otherwise – use a cheque instead.
Hope this will be helpful and bring some awareness to everyone in Dubai right now.
Other scam stories in Dubai
If you do a Google search, there are a lot of big scams going on.
We are including this here, for your reference :
- Hacking Scam Alert after Fraudsters target Dubai Construction Firm
- Chinese speaking Phishing ring behind latest Fake Fee Scam targeting UAE
- Dubai Scam 30 member gang arrested for 32 Million AED Embezzlement.
Also – have a read of our piece on the ongoing Dubizzle Scam in Dubai.
Stay safe, everyone!