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Dubai News

UAE bank warning: Do not fall for this VAT refund scam

date

09-Jul-2019

DUBAI: If you have got a purported email from Mashreq Bank asking you to seek value added tax (VAT) refunds by submitting your bank details, banish the thought. It’s a phishing scam!
 
Of late, several Mashreq Bank customers have got a dodgy email saying they are eligible to receive over Dh10,000 in VAT refunds based on ‘last audit calculations of their fiscal activity”.
 
Customers are then instructed to enter their credit card details, compete with CVV numbers and expiry dates in an accompanying form and send it back by email.
 
Gurcharan Chhabra, head of fraud prevention and intelligence at Mashreq Bank has urged customers to stay clear from the phishing email.
 
“Mashreq Bank strongly advises its customers to check for the authenticity of any communication that appears to come from the bank. We caution our customers to not respond to any communication that requests for your banking information or offers a VAT/TAX refund/Tax credit as you can be a potential victim of an electronic scam,” Chhabra said in an email to Gulf News.
 
“We urge our customers to be highly alert and check before clicking on any link or opening any attachment and never share vital details like password, user ID or PIN. As a bank we will never ask you to share such confidential details via links,” he said, asking customers to contact the bank’s call centre should they receive a suspicious email/SMS/WhatsApp message.
 
Last year another local bank, Emirates NBD issued a similar warning about a phishing email targeting its clients
 
“You may have received a recent email with the subject line ‘VAT Refund Notification’, claiming to be from Emirates NBD. Please be aware that this is a phishing email. We urge you to be highly vigilant and always check the source before clicking on any links or attachments in e-mails,” the bank posted on its website.
 
Phishing attack is a cyber crime where criminals send an email that appears to be from a legitimate company and ask you to provide sensitive information.
 
A staggering 1.1 million phishing attacks were recorded in the UAE during the first quarter of 2019, according to the head of global research and analysis for Kaspersky in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa.
 
Meanwhile the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) has issued a warning about WhatsApp messages claiming to be from CBUAE or banks operating in the UAE. In a statement issued last week, the Central Bank said it never uses social media or messaging services like WhatsApp to contact individuals or businesses. Cautioning residents against responding to these messages, the Central Bank said opening the hyperlinks in the messages could expose them to malware.
 

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