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22 Jul 2020, 02:11 am | Regulator or Authority Impersonation

Gulf One uses the name of the DFSA in an Advance Fee Scam and falsely claims to be in the DIFC

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) alerts the financial services community and members of the public about a fraudulent Advance Fee scam perpetrated by an investment company called Gulf One.

Gulf One fraudulently uses the DFSA’s name and legitimate switchboard number and falsely claims to be located in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Gulf One offers investors an investment account and then informs investors that they have made profits on that investment which the investors can redeem.  However, when an investor seeks to redeem the alleged profits, Gulf One tells the investor that they have to send a “refundable payment” amounting to 20% of the alleged profits to the DFSA.  Gulf One claims that this refundable payment is required because the DFSA had put the investor’s account “on hold”, and the payment is required as part of the “standard banking procedures”.  Gulf One then provides the investor with money transfer details in which an IBAN allegedly in the name of the DFSA (in Arabic) is cited.  

In an attempt to make the scam seem authentic, Gulf One also provides the legitimate telephone number of the DFSA’s switchboard to investors as a contact number.  The DFSA switchboard has received a number of calls from investors asking about the status of their investment and when they can expect to receive their “profits”. In addition, Gulf One uses a fake Whatsapp account to communicate with investors, with a falsified profile picture containing the DFSA logo and name.

Further, Gulf One falsely claims on its website (https://www.gulfone.net/) that it is located in Central Park Towers, DIFC, and that it offers:
• trading and investment services that comply with ‘Islamic law’; and
• advising services on suitable model portfolio.

Gulf One also provides investors with a document called “Declaration of Deposit”.  The document, which fraudulently uses a stamp containing the name of the DIFC (in Arabic), can be viewed here.

The DFSA advises that Gulf One:
• is not connected in any way whatsoever with the DFSA;
• has no offices in the DIFC and is not a DIFC company;
• is not licensed by the DFSA to carry out any Financial Services in the DIFC.  Gulf One is therefore not permitted to “offer trading and investment services that comply with Islamic law” or “advising services on suitable model portfolio trading”; and
• does not hold a commercial licence from the DIFC Registrar of Companies to operate any business in or from the DIFC. 

The DFSA is the independent regulator of financial services in the DIFC. The DFSA does not put accounts on hold, nor does it accept refundable payments in relation to such accounts. The name of the DFSA and the legitimate DFSA switchboard number have been used fraudulently by Gulf One without the DFSA’s authority.

The DFSA strongly advises that individuals should not respond to any communications regarding this scam, and under no circumstances should they send any money to the IBAN number provided by Gulf One (or to any other person involved in the scam).

The DFSA suggests that firms and individuals can avoid being scammed by:
• checking the relevant regulatory status of a person before doing business with them;
• only doing business with firms or individuals you trust.  Dealing with people you have never met may carry a higher risk; be particularly cautious when receiving unsolicited communications; and
• obtaining independent professional advice before entering into any investment or transaction

The DFSA has a page on its website dedicated to alerts which it has issued about scams. All alerts issued by the DFSA may be accessed by going to: ALERTS

The DFSA has also issued warnings and guidance about the common types of scams perpetrated on consumers. For more information on these scams, please go to: HOW TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED

The DFSA encourages consumers to refer to the list of regulated Firms and Authorised Individuals licensed by the DFSA that is available on the DFSA's PUBLIC REGISTER

If you have any concerns about the authenticity of any correspondence or documents that purport to be issued by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), DFSA or a DFSA regulated Firm, you should direct your concerns to the DIFC on Tel:+971 4 362 2222 and to the DFSA via the DFSA Complaints function on: COMPLAINTS

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