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Dubai Romance Scams: How to Stay Safe and Verify in the UAE

Dubai Romance Scams: How to Stay Safe and Verify in the UAE

The first thing that Dubai brings to mind is luxury and wealth, an oasis in the desert, not necessarily romance scams and investment fraud. Everyone pictures Dubai as a city that only a few can afford, however Dubai is also home to an increasing amount of romance scammers.  Many immigrants lacking formal education and training in Dubai and the UAE have been struggling to survive with the high cost of living, and as a result, have turned to illegal operations to make ends meet.

The UAE’s economy is the largest consumer market in the Middle East and it is expected to be the fastest growing economy in the region in 2019. Its natural resources, mainly oil and gas, along with services, made it one of the world’s richest  countries, with a very high-average income.

Contrary to the trends in other high risk countries for fraud (which are mostly developing countries with low income rates), the UAE is one of the higher risk developed countries for fraud.

One of the reasons this happens is that the UAE is also the most densely migrant-populated country in the world, home to more than 8 million migrant workers coming mainly from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Egypt and the Philippines (all countries with high rates of corruption and fraud). Most of the migrants are in the bottom of the employment pyramid working in low income jobs like domestic staff or construction, with wages that can be between $200 USD and $400 USD per month. Many of them have taken loans in their home countries to be granted a visa. It is not uncommon to find those who find an extra-income in the internet fraud industry, mainly romance and dating scams.

Online romance scams have been triggered by the reputation of Dubai and Abu Dhabi of being two of the richest global cities and business hubs. In such environment, it is easy for online criminals who assume false identities and make up stories of wealthy and successful business people.  This attracts the potential victims on social media and online dating, where the scam begins.  Victims think they are safe when dealing with a U.S. or U.K. business person traveling or working in Dubai, for example, because the UAE is not known for fraud or scams compared to other high risk countries.

Watch out for UAE romance scammers

As we all know, not everyone using online dating sites is looking for love. Scammers create fake online profiles using photos of other real people and make up life stories. They choose a name, a career, an CV or employment, and many other details that can add value to their fake persona. Then, they begin their hunt for a victim using dating apps and websites and social media networks.

Local private investigators in the UAE say most romance scammers profess their love quickly, but others take their time to develop trust. The first red flag to be aware of is the fact that the person you are communicating with is from the UAE, or claims to be currently located in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Another important thing to watch out for is money requests to help them get out of financial trouble, or requests to receive and cash checks. As losing money wasn’t bad enough, romance scammers are now involving their victims in online bank fraud as well, so anything involving receiving or sending money is a major red flag.  Other criminals never ask for money, but instead slowly obtain your personal data and passwords to steal your identity or blackmail you, leaving victims devastated.

How to stay safe online

If you meet someone from the UAE or claiming to be doing business in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, hire a reputable private investigation to conduct a dating background check investigation as soon as possible! The best way to avoid being a victim is to know the truth from the start, and a dating background check investigation can provide evidence to verify if you are communicating with a real person or a criminal. Don’t wait until it is too late! It is better to have the evidence sooner than later.

Wymoo® has highly trained professional investigators on the ground in over 100 countries, including Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  Let us verify the company or individual you’re dealing with and uncover the facts and evidence for you.  Be safe, get a free investigation quote today!

C. Wright
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