Scammers cloning DIFC registered firms, warns DFSA

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has warned the financial services community and the public of scams which have ‘cloned’ firms registered in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

The scammers use the names, the DIFC registration numbers, and the addresses and contact details of genuine firms registered in the DIFC to create false websites.

The purpose of the creation of these false websites is to facilitate advanced fee scams by adding legitimacy to the scam.

The scammers' usual method in such scams is as follows:

• They approach consumers claiming to be from legitimate firms registered in the DIFC;

• They offer consumers access to loan facilities; and

• When there is an expression of interest from a consumer, the scammers state that the consumer must pay fees for the purpose of approving the loan.

The scammers primarily clone registered private investments and family offices in the DIFC. Such registered offices are not authorised by the DFSA to provide financial services to third parties, and often do not have an official website.

Recently, it came to the attention of the DFSA that a false website was created using the name of Al Rafa Investments Limited (Al Rafa), a non-regulated firm registered in the DIFC (DIFC Registration No. 1951). The website falsely claims that Al Rafa provides debt funding, asset management, investment advisory, and corporate finance services.

Al Rafa has confirmed tha the website does not belong to Al Rafa and it does not provide financial services to third parties in the DIFC.

Firms and individuals can generally only provide financial services in the DIFC if they are authorised by the DFSA to do so.

Therefore, the DFSA strongly advises you to:

• Check the DFSA's public register to ensure that the firm is regulated or registered by the DFSA to provide financial services in the DIFC. The DFSA's public register may be accessed by going to: PUBLIC REGISTER

• Verify the contact details of the firm you are dealing with by checking these details against the information available on the DIFC’s and the DFSA’s public register;

• Make additional checks to confirm that you are dealing with the financial services firm in question, for example, by contacting the firm using the contact details available on the DIFC’s and the DFSA’s public register; and

• Direct any concerns you have regarding the authenticity of the firm to the DIFC on Tel:+971 4 362 2222 and to the DFSA via the DFSA Complaints function on: COMPLAINTS

The DFSA has a page on its website dedicated to alerts which it has issued about scams. All alerts issued by the DFSA may be accessed by going to: ALERTS

The DFSA has also issued warnings and guidance about the common types of scams perpetrated on consumers. For more information on these scams, please go to: HOW TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED