Expats arriving at UAE airports warned about immigration scam

Published:  16 Aug at 6 PM
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Expats arriving back in the UAE after holidaying overseas are being warned not to fall for a recently discovered immigration fraud.

Scammers are targeting expatriate holidaymakers returning to the emirates through Dubai airport, using Caller ID Spoofing to convince victims they’re genuine immigration officers. At present, scores of returnees have received calls from crooks impersonating genuine immigration staff and accusing them of committing serious immigration laws whilst away. Victims are threatened with deportation should they not fix things by sending payments of up to Dh3,000.

One long-term resident who'd returned after a month’s holiday in India told local media she was appalled and scared when she received a call purporting to be from an immigration official informing her she had not filled in an immigration declaration. She told the caller she’d come through the E-gate, where no-one had asked her to fill in a form, but the caller ignored her and gave his phone to a person claiming to be a supervisor. The so-called senior official told her there’d been a newspaper notice telling all expats to update their records with immigration and adding she was facing deportation and a 15-year re-entry ban.

The scammer then told her the only way forward was to immediately send DH1,500 as a first payment for legal fees to a designated bank account. However, she had the sense to put the man on hold whilst she called home on her second phone and her husband told her it was a new scam. After she’d posted her experience on Facebook, her page was deluged with messages from other expats who’d had the same experience. Victims who’ve taken the calls as genuine and wired money are unable to call back on the scammers’ number as it’s using common VOIP which is unreachable after the conman has received the fraudulent bank transfer and disconnected the call.
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