Beg­ging by What­sApp

Po­lice say fraud­sters are us­ing app

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - By Is­mail Se­bug­waawo @is­mailsebu is­mail@7days.ae

Con­men pos­ing as beg­gars are tar­get­ing peo­ple in the UAE us­ing the smart­phone messenger ser­vice What­sApp, po­lice said.

The warn­ing came af­ter a woman com­plained to Abu Dhabi Po­lice that she re­ceived sev­eral calls from a UAE num­ber in which some­one asked for help, claim­ing that he was hav­ing fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties and couldn’t even af­ford to buy food for his fam­ily.

The woman, who is Arab, told the man she couldn’t help and says she then started re­ceiv­ing What­sApp mes­sages from a dif­fer­ent phone num­ber in an un­spec­i­fied Arab coun­try ask­ing for fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance.

The mes­sages in­cluded de­tails of bank ac­counts where the money could be wired to.

Abu Dhabi Po­lice warned peo­ple to be wary of such beg­gars as they send sob sto­ries to count­less users hop­ing some­one will send them money.

“Peo­ple must be mind­ful of such new so­cial me­dia scams used by beg­gars,” said Ma­jor Gen­eral Amir Mo­hammed Al Muhairi, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of Polic­ing Op­er­a­tions at Abu Dhabi Po­lice. “The beg­gars claim they are in great suf­fer­ing, no food, noth­ing and are in des­per­ate need for fi­nan­cial sup­port.”

He urged any­one who re­ceives such mes­sages to con­tact the au­thor­i­ties.

“Po­lice are ready to help peo­ple in need of as­sis­tance and those pos­ing as beg­gars will face pros­e­cu­tion,” said the of­fi­cer.

The force said beg­ging is par­tic­u­larly preva­lent dur­ing Ra­madan, when crooks prey on peo­ple’s gen­eros­ity.

Al Muhairi said those caught beg­ging will be jailed and de­ported. To re­port beg­ging call 800 2626 or send a text mes­sage to 2828.

‘Peo­ple must be mind­ful of such new so­cial me­dia scams used by beg­gars.’ – Ma­jor Gen­eral Al Muhairi

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