UAE now a hub for online shopping scams and card fraud

Published:  9 May at 6 PM
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Tagged: Australia, UAE
Over a million consumers living in the UAE were victims of online shopping scams during 2017.

Online shopping scammers and fraudsters had a very successful 2017, according to a new report which estimated some $87.3 million was lost by unwary online consumers. E-commerce is enjoying a boom in the Gulf States, as are crooks and scammers hitting on consumers with credit and debit card fraud, online shopping scams and theft of payment information.

Almost a third of online shoppers in the region were caught up in the illegal activity. Some 22 per cent suffered compromise of their financial details, with 28 per cent victims of online debit or credit card fraud, and 43 per cent had their personal information compromised during a 2017 database breach. In the UAE alone, e-commerce transactions are expected to amount to $10 billion in 2018, with ninety per cent of shoppers using mobile devices to purchase goods. The number is surprising as 71 per cent believe using a smart phone for online shopping is risky. Also reported was the average time taken by scammed shoppers to sort out instances of debit or credit card fraud, with an average of 22 hours per consumer.

Meanwhile, legal experts are concerned that expats are at risk of legal challenges due to their inability to speak the local language. The vast majority of expats are unable to convey their complaints to court officials, and many are signing Arabic-language legal documents without being able to read and understand them. Foreign legal films are not allowed inside court rooms, so are unable to give their clients advice at crucial moments. One UAE law firm is attempting to make life easier for expats by signing a joint cooperation agreement with an Arab law firm in the hope that ‘lost in translation’ will no longer apply. In addition, many expats are confused about the application of Sharia law and don’t understand that civil law takes precedence in court.
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