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Man taken for a phone-y ride.

Summary: A man who dreamed of getting rich quickly found himself the victim of a telephone scam, handing over almost Dh50,000 before wising up to the ruse.

A man who dreamed of getting rich quickly found himself the victim of a telephone scam, handing over almost Dh50,000 before wising up to the ruse.

The European man had travelled to the UAE to get a job and make his living here. One day, he received a phone call from a man speaking English in an Asian accent, telling him he had won a bonanza prize of Dh500,000 sponsored by a local telecommunications company.

The man believed the claim, despite never having participated in any raffle draw or competition that could yield a cash prize.

Knowing the victim had bought the ruse, the swindler told the victim that he had to keep the matter secret until he received the prize so the company granting the prize could unveil it later as part of a grand publicity campaign.

However, the conman told the victim the prize could not be redeemed till he purchased mobile phone credit of Dh10,000 and transferred it to specified cellphone numbers provided.

After this, the scammer instructed the victim to pay a fee of Dh5,000 to clear the prize in the name of a Sharjah resident and Dh9,000 in the name of another man, alongside other amounts for various items.

The swindler later called the victim informing him of the good news that the company sponsoring the prize had increased it to Dh700,000 -- with one catch. The man was told he needed to send the difference in fees and taxes, until the total sum the victim sent the swindler came to Dh49,000.

Realising he had been fooled, the victim called the police.

An investigation led to the arrest of the two people to whom the victim had sent the money, and whose faces appeared in the footage of the surveillance cameras installed in money exchange offices where they went to collect their bounty.

On interrogating them, one of the suspects, an Asian man, claimed that he had received the money which he then paid to a compatriot who had already left the country. The man claimed that he had received Dh100 for every Dh5,000 the compatriot collected. The suspect also claimed that he did not know the second person the victim sent cash to. The court convicted the first accused in absentia and convicted and sentenced the second accused to three months in jail, followed by deportation.

Copyright 2012 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jan 8, 2013
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