The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) cautions the financial services community and members of the public about an increase in scams and other fraudulent activity since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One type of scam on the increase is an Advance Fee Scam. This type of scam involves people being persuaded to advance small amounts of money in the hope of getting access to a significantly larger amount. The small amounts of money are for all sorts of fake 'advance fees' such as false customs, duties, taxes, or even bribes. The access to the large amount of money is, of course, never realised.
In a recent example of an Advance Fee Scam, the DFSA’s logo was falsely misused and the DFSA’s executives fraudulently impersonated. An individual, in this case, from South Korea was contacted by the scammers and advised that he had won a prize. He was sent a document confirming the prize. The individual was told that he would have to pay USD2,820 (approx. AED10,400) for a Certificate of Fund Origin in order to collect the prize. He paid the amount and obtained a fake official receipt which also falsely bore the DFSA’s logo. The individual then attempted to present the prize document to the DFSA’s reception desk to collect his prize, only to be told that the document was fake and that there was no prize waiting for him. Copies of the fake prize document and official receipt can be found here.
Another common type of scam is where a genuine DFSA-licensed Financial Services company is cloned. This means that the scammers steal the identity of the genuine company by, for example, creating a fake website. The fake website looks identical to the real website of the genuine company, but the ways to contact the firm are changed so that emails, messages or telephone calls from investors are diverted to the scammers and not the genuine firm. Scammers will request to meet potential investors outside of an office, such as a coffee shop, in order to make them seem legitimate. Scammers who clone genuine DFSA-licensed firms will, however, often make mistakes when creating a fake website. Many of these mistakes are easily spotted and are an indication that the website is fake, if you look carefully.
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 to the DFSA via the DFSA Complaints function on: COMPLAINTS
The DFSA strongly advises that you do not respond to scammers, and under no circumstances should you send or give any money to any party in connection with a scam.
If an unsolicited offer sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is. The DFSA encourages all investors to be more vigilant and to better understand financial products and services. The DFSA will in due course be taking steps to enhance the financial literacy of direct and indirect users of DFSA financial services.
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, including Advance Fee 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
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