Explained: What to do if your bank account has been scammed in the UAE?

Online fraud is increasing day by day, with bank accounts also being scammed in the UAE. Many times, you may get a call purportedly from a bank asking for your personal details, or your account number. It is important to beware of scam calls, or messages which request for your OTP. 

In this connection, the Government of UAE has issued a new law called the Federal Decree Law No. 34 of 2021 Concerning the Fight Against Rumors and Cybercrime (New Cybercrime Law). The Cybercrime Law has been issued to fight against hacking, breach of personal data and information, forgery of electronic document, tampering with digital evidence, child pornography, amongst others. 

What Does the Law Say?

The New Cybercrime Law criminalises action under Article 40, where a person has seized for himself or another person, movable property, benefit, document or signature of such document, by adopting a fraudulent manner, or using false name or impersonating oneself online – through information network, electronic information system or information technology, will be sentenced to imprisonment for at least 1 year and / or pay fine. The fines could range from AED 250,000 to AED 1 million. 

That means any person who scam calls you, or emails through phishing could be punishable under the New Cybercrime Law. 

Article 11 of the New Cybercrime Law also states the following: 

1. Everyone fabricates a website or electronic account or mail and falsely ascribes the same to a natural or juristic person shall be sentenced to detention and/or to pay fine of not less than (50,000) fifty thousand Dirhams and not more than (200,000) two hundred thousand Dirhams.

  1. The penalty shall be detention for a period of not less than (2) two years, if the culprit uses or enables another person to use the fabricated account, mail or website in a matter that abuses the victim. 
  2. The penalty shall be detention for a period of not more than (5) five years and paying fine of not less than (200,000) two hundred thousand Dirhams and not more than (2,000,000) two million Dirhams, if the crime is committed by the fabrication of a website or an electronic account or mail of a state institution.” 

According to Article 11 of the Cybercrime Law, any person who fabricates a website, email or ascribes the website or email to another person will be punishable. Accordingly, bank scams where a person receives fabricated emails pretending to be from banks are punishable under this provision. 

What Can You Do? 

Prevention is key. You must always be cautious of calls which pretend to be from banks asking for your OTP. If you get a call or email from “banks” requesting for your personal information, you should think twice before responding. 

Another thing you should create a habit of, is checking your account balance regularly to ensure that there is no discrepancy in your account. 

If you are doing online banking, make sure you are using the official website or application. If you are making payment, check that the website is authentic and if you are being redirected to a new webpage, ensure that the payment gateway is trustworthy. 

Bank scams are on the rise and you must ensure that you are careful when undertaking banking transactions.

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