By Claire Ferris-Lay
Telecoms operator tells users to ignore bogus cash prize bonanzas
Etisalat has warned customers not to give out their personal details to bogus employees who tell them they have won cash bonanzas.
The UAE’s largest mobile phone operator said it had seen an increasing number of “scam calls and scam incidents” and told customers not to give bank account details, PIN or eVoucher/recharge card numbers to callers on the phone or through SMS or email.
“These pranksters are asking customers to either transfer credit, or share their PIN number or provide personal information, to claim a huge cash prize,” the firm said in a statement Wednesday.
“No such raffle or lucky draw campaign is currently being run by Etisalat. Etisalat promotions are well advertised in the media and the winners are informed through a standardised process,” it added.
Etisalat has issued several warnings in recent years, the first in 2009.
Dubai Police told Arabian Business in October it had fined several hundred fraudsters for duping Etisalat customers into transferring their calling credit and traders offering to sell credit for a fee over the last two years.
Police in the emirate have been working in partnership with the UAE operator for several years in a bid to crack down on the number of scammers who call customers claiming to work for Etisalat, before requesting customers transfer credit to their phones to receive fake cash prizes.
“We’ve caught a few groups who have come from overseas just to work on this business,” said Major Saeed Alhajri, director of cyber crime and investigation department for Dubai Police.
“There are the scammers who call and pretend that they are from Etisalat and there is another group who are selling the balance… they say they are just part time traders who are buying a small balance from the shops and they resell it with a small profit - we’ve caught a few hundred of these people,” he added.