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Two suspects arrested in 'phone scams' inquiry

09/27/2009 10:53 PM

Dubai: Two people allegedly belonging to a 16-member gang involved in a series of mobile phone scams were arrested recently, a senior police officer said.

"Lately, so many reports have been made by the public at different police stations about getting random calls from people claiming to be representatives from a certain organisation. They con their victims into believing they have won a grand prize of Dh1 million," said Lieutenant Colonel Ahmad Bin Galita, Director of the Crime Prevention Department.

Most of the suspects involved in the case are illegal workers or infiltrators, he said, adding that it would be tough to find them as they might have already fled.

The scammers promise their victims the grand prize provided they transfer phone credit which could range from Dh500 to Dh5,000.

The suspect then sells the number or credit for a higher price.

"Members of the public must realise that you can't win a prize when you did not enter a contest or you can't win a prize by transferring credit. However convincing the person is, it does not happen that way," he said.

A recent Gulf News report said a study showed that most victims of phone and e-mail scams are unemployed or economically challenged people. According to Lt Col Bin Galita this also applies sometimes to the suspects, who are also unemployed and find many creative ways to con people.

The criminals are also trained teams, and each member plays a carefully planned part to con victims, he said.

The department thoroughly investigated the matter by tracing the phone calls made by the arrested suspects, who were Pakistani nationals, for two weeks, he said.

Some of these numbers were found to have been registered in the names of people who had left the country.

"It is not easy to trace these crimes since there are only little clues left to identify the suspects. I urge the public not to fall for these scams and not to sell their mobile phone cards to strangers since they can take advantage of it in committing a crime," he said.

Dubai Police are still investigating the scams carried out by the gang and the value collected from victims.

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