UAE - A new centre dedicated for liaising with banks and receiving financial fraud reports has been set up in Abu Dhabi as authorities step up measures to combat financial crimes.
Abu Dhabi Police on Thursday announced the launch of the new centre at the Criminal Investigations Directorate to enable its officers communicate directly with banks and receive reports of financial fraud, and of crooks exploiting bank customers.
Investigators will be coordinating with several local banks in the country.
A joint security team that includes officials from the bank fraud department and the investigations directorate has been formed to deal with victims who have been subjected to fraud by unknown criminals. The team will be monitoring multiple criminal methods including tackling fraudsters claiming to be bank employees and asking their victims to update accounts so as gain access to their confidential information.
Officials in Abu Dhabi have in the past reported many cases of customers being defrauded in phone scams. They have also been issuing warnings and urging people not to share their bank account details with anyone.
Last year, Abu Dhabi Police reported that 142 people associated with 13 gangs were arrested in Abu Dhabi for duping residents of their cash after illegally obtaining their bank details.
A police spokesperson told Khaleej Times that it recently monitored several methods used by fraudsters including making fraudulent calls that promised the victims fake prizes designed to extract their credit card number and personal details, while others pretend to be bank employees and prod victims to share their personal information so their account details in the bank systems could be updated.
The force has also warned of links to fraudulent websites that mimic government institutions and other big companies. Officers said these fraudsters lure people into investing in cryptocurrency trade after promising them huge profits but they end up stealing the cash they transfer to various bank accounts.
Police have advised people not to invest in digital currency trade, stressing that they are virtual units that are not covered by tangible assets, and have no conditions or control.
On Wednesday, July 28, the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court sentenced a gang of nine to 10 years in jail for money laundering activities and for obtaining Dh18 million through bogus cryptocurrency trade. The court also fined each of the defendants Dh10 million and six companies that were involved in the illegal activities were fined Dh50 million each.
New center to help in speedy tracking of fraudsters
Colonel Rashid Khalaf Al Dhaheri, director of the Criminal Investigations Directorate, said the new centre is aimed at enhancing security and safety as the force seeks to prevent financial crimes and ensure an effective response. These crimes require speedy handling through communication and coordination with banking authorities.
The new office will help fight fraudsters and reduce financial crimes
“The centre tracks and freezes funds in a fast response to reports, verifies suspicious financial transactions and takes legal measures that ensure the protection of funds and their return to the victim,” explained Al Dhaheri.
“It will enhance the efforts of Abu Dhabi Police in combating these crimes.”
The official also advised people not to disclose personal information, bank account numbers or credit card details to anyone over the phone, email or text messages.
Officials said that fraudsters pretend to be bank officials and send text messages or use social media (WhatsApp) to defraud people by deceiving them that their ATM or credit cards have been blocked or bank accounts frozen as they did not update their personal data. They then ask them to contact a certain phone number to update the data correctly. After getting the person’s details, the conmen use them to steal their money from accounts and credit cards.
People have been advised not to respond to unknown phone numbers, maintain the confidentiality of their personal and financial information and to report such cases to authorities immediately.
The hotline for reporting financial fraud is Aman Service number 8002626 or 2828 for text message, or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) through the Abu Dhabi Police smart application.
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