UAE: Scammers impersonate officials, bully victims for UAE Pass OTP details

Asma Ahmed - | UAE

Authorities in the UAE are alerting residents to a new wave of sophisticated vishing (voice phishing) scams.

UAE Residents Targeted by a New Vishing Scam

These fraudsters pose as officials from the police, the Ministry of Interior, or banks, aiming to trick individuals into disclosing sensitive personal information by requesting them to authorize UAE Pass requests.

Scammers typically initiate contact by phone, pretending to be legitimate representatives from various UAE authorities or financial institutions. They create a sense of urgency or fear, convincing residents that immediate action is required to avoid severe consequences, such as legal trouble or financial loss. The primary goal is to extract personal details and authorization codes for UAE Pass, a digital identity system used for secure online services.

The prevalence of this scam is significant, as highlighted by a recent WhatsApp poll conducted. Over 8,300 respondents reported receiving fraudulent phone calls or emails from individuals impersonating UAE authorities. These deceptive tactics lead to substantial personal and financial losses for those who fall victim to the scam.

Authorities have noted an increase in the sophistication of these scams. Unlike traditional phishing attempts, vishing involves direct interaction, making it more challenging for individuals to discern the fraudulent nature of the communication. The scammers often use official-sounding language and provide convincing explanations to gain the trust of their targets.

In response, UAE authorities have issued multiple warnings, urging residents to remain vigilant and cautious when receiving unsolicited calls or messages. They emphasize that official entities will never request sensitive information or authorization codes over the phone or through email.

Protecting Against Vishing Scams

Residents are advised to take several precautionary measures to protect themselves from falling victim to these scams. First, individuals should never share personal information or authorization codes with anyone who contacts them unsolicited. Verifying the caller's identity by directly contacting the official institution using known and trusted contact information is crucial.

Additionally, residents should be aware of the common tactics used by scammers, such as creating a sense of urgency or fear. Recognizing these red flags can help individuals avoid falling for the scam. Installing and regularly updating security software on electronic devices can also provide an additional layer of protection against fraudulent activities.

Authorities encourage residents to report any suspicious phone calls, emails, or messages to the relevant authorities immediately. By doing so, individuals can help prevent further occurrences of the scam and assist in identifying and apprehending the fraudsters. Reporting mechanisms include dedicated helplines, official websites, and mobile apps provided by UAE authorities.

Community awareness and education

Raising community awareness and education about vishing scams is essential to combating this growing threat. Authorities, media outlets, and community organizations are urged to disseminate information about the scam, including how it operates and the steps individuals can take to protect themselves.

Public seminars, workshops, and online resources can play a significant role in educating residents about the dangers of vishing and other fraudulent activities. By fostering a well-informed community, the UAE can reduce the impact of these scams and enhance overall cybersecurity.

The vishing scam targeting UAE residents is a significant and growing concern. By staying vigilant, taking precautionary measures, and reporting suspicious activities, individuals can protect themselves and contribute to the collective effort to combat this form of fraud. Authorities continue to work tirelessly to safeguard residents and raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity in today's digital age.

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Asma Ahmed
Asma Ahmed
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