The Sharjah Corniche. Picture for illustrative purposes only.
Image Credit: Antonin Kelian Kallouche/Gulf News Archives

Sharjah: A gang of ten people was arrested in Sharjah for duping residents of their cash after illegally obtaining their bank details, Sharjah Police said on Wednesday. The fraudsters are all of Asian origin.

Police said the gang used to trap their victims through phone scams and withdraw money from their bank accounts. The gang embezzled Dh32,000 from the bank account of one of their victims.

The Criminal and investigation Department of the Eastern Region Police Department arrested members of the gang in cooperation with Dubai Police.

Lieutenant Colonel Saeed Khalfan Al Naqbi, Head of the Criminal Investigation Department at the Eastern Region Police Department, said that a report was received by the Eastern Region Police Department that stated a complaint from a man who was defrauded after someone contacted him over the phone and asked him to update his bank information. Once he provided him with his bank details, he withdrew an amount of Dh32,000 from his account.

Prompt arrest

Following the complaint, CID officers launched an investigation and arrested all the accused in cooperation with Dubai Police.

A research and investigation team was formed to follow up the progress of the case. It was found that the gang used multiple SIM cards to defraud the victims. They used to call the victims and say that their bank account details needed an update and would be frozen if they are not provided. Once they received the victim’s bank details, they would get rid of the SIM cards so they could not be traced.

The amounts were transferred from the victim’s accounts to other accounts and then sent out of the country.

However, the experienced investigation team, who had dealt with similar cases in the past, had enough details to nab the culprits. They were arrested one by one after an ambush.

Police seized a large number of smartphones and SIM carrying numbers for some telecommunications companies and a laptop , and a series of receipts for money transfers showing the method of fraud followed by the gang.

Upon interrogation, the gang members admitted that they had cheated people through phone scams and had withdrawn huge sums of money. The arrested gang members have been referred to public prosecution for further action.

Word of caution

Lieutenant Colonel Al Naqbi stated that UAE authorities have warned members of the community several times about such scams. He urged them not to believe such fraudsters, and making sure of the caller source by referring to the bank so that they do not fall prey to such scams.

Colonel Ali Al Kai Al Hamoudi, Director of the Eastern Region Police Department, stressed the continuation of efforts to address this type of crime, in which the culprits use telephone calls to swindle victims. He urged owners of bank accounts not to respond to the calls received by them from persons claim that they are bank employees and not provide any information about their bank accounts or personal data so that they are not subject to illegal exploitation. He praised the efforts of field teams in being able to arrest the gang members in record time, and protect others from falling victim to this gang.

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