The fraudsters impersonate well-known courier companies to steal bank data
Residents in all emirates have raised concerns about receiving fake SMS messages or emails from scammers asking them to pay Dh4 to claim a parcel.
The fraudsters have been using names and logos of well-known courier companies to avoid rousing suspicion. According to police reports in various emirates, many individuals have fallen victim to this fraud, which drained money from their bank accounts.
Fahad Rashid Al Ameri, who has received the fake text repeatedly, said the scam will only be combated through awareness campaigns spread by police to educate community members about the dangers of responding to such messages, which are aimed at seizing bank data.
Since the scammers impersonate established courier companies, Al Ameri said victims may unknowingly respond to their text, especially since they’re only asked to pay a small amount, ranging between Dh4 and Dh12.
Mohamed Zakir, another resident, said people may click on the attached link, make the payment process and later discover that their bank data has been stolen. This method of phishing hinges on the idea that the victim will think a family member requested the shipment and proceed to make the payment to the fake courier company.
Zakir stressed that individuals should investigate the accuracy of the information in these messages and ensure its authenticity before clicking on fake links.
Aisha Al Shamsi said her aunt had fallen victim to the fraud and Dh10,000 had been withdrawn from her bank account. She lodged a complaint at the police station. Al Shamsi said awareness campaigns are the most effective way to confront the danger of electronic fraud gangs.
The rise in phishing
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more customers have been shopping online instead of going to stores and malls. This is one of the main reasons why such phishing cases have been on the rise, said a cybersecurity expert at Dubai Police.
Most fraudsters send emails and texts, impersonating reputed sources or companies. In the case of the courier scam, the link in the message leads to a fake webpage that is designed to look like an official company website.
Customers are then tricked into entering sensitive information, such as bank details, credit card numbers and CVV codes, to pay a fraudulent delivery fee. However, a delivery never takes place. Instead, phishers use the information entered to harvest personal data and withdraw money from victims’ bank accounts or make expensive purchases.
The official urged community members to remain vigilant and watch out for linguistic errors in the body of the message or impersonal statements, such as ‘Dear Sir/Dear Madam’, as these may indicate that the sender is seeking to steal information.
“Before entering payment data on any website or application, it must be ensured that it is the official site or application of the delivery company,” he stressed.
Anyone who encounters fake websites or receives a notification of an unexpected delivery should report the matter to police.
Maj-Gen Saif Al Zeri Al Shamsi, commander-in-chief of Sharjah Police, warned of other methods related to the courier fraud, where after customers click on a link and enter the card data, a fake one-time password is generated. If victims fail to realise that it is not from their bank, the fraudster may use the information to complete the purchase transaction.
How to protect yourself from scams
Colonel Omar Abu Al Zoud, CID director at Sharjah Police, identified seven tips to protect residents from falling victim to fraud:
1. Do not click on links in emails or text messages without ensuring they’re legitimate.
2. Make sure that a family member is expecting a shipment to arrive.
3. Carefully read messages and verify the source.
4. Ensure the legitimacy of email addresses. Fake ones are often very similar to the original address.
5. Avoid providing bank data through WhatsApp.
6. Carefully read one-time password messages sent by the bank.
7. Ignore online promotions that seem too good to be true.
Sharjah Police will continue raising awareness about online scams to keep the public informed about new conning methods.