Gulf In Focus - GULF STATES/ ECONOMICS and FINANCE - Phone scam warning for UAE residents.


Scammers and fraudsters have become bolder and are now using scare tactics to extract money from unsuspecting people. Many gullible residents have lost hundreds of thousands of dirhams, authorities said.

Phone fraudsters now call people directly or send them a WhatsApp message to tell them that their ATM or credit cards are blocked and they need to call a certain number to fix the problem, Abdullah Buali, information security analyst at UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said on Thursday.

The podcast was part of the social media campaign by TRA and KT on digital awareness and cybersecurity. Buali said one of the reasons given by scammers is the failure to update information on the card. Many residents fall victim to this scam and give out sensitive information, including the fail-safe one-time password (OTP) sent to bank customers.

"The numbers are not toll free and usually from places that are off-the-grid. The caller is charged instantly so it is very impor-tant not to call them back," Buali said.

"Residents can block the number but, more importantly, they should report any fraudulent calls to the authorities," noted Buali, adding that the TRA is...

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