UAE journalist falls victim to money-transfer scam
A UAE-based journalist this week received an urgent email from his cousin in Abu Dhabi saying he was in Cyprus and needed money instantly after his bag was stolen while he was attending an engineering conference.
The journalist was given an address in the southern Cypriot town of Limassol and asked to remit 1,000 euros to his cousin through a well-known money exchange firm.
A few minutes after receiving the message, the journalist rushed to the exchange in Abu Dhabi and sent the money. Three hours later, the funds were collected.
“I later phoned my cousin and asked him to confirm receiving the money, but he was surprised and said he had no idea what I was talking about,” the journalist said.
“I told him about the email. When he checked his email, he discovered that it was hacked and that the one who asked for money was someone else.
“My cousin then asked me to rush to the exchange firm and get my money back.”
The journalist said that when he asked that company to cancel the remittance and give his money back, he was told that it has already been collected in Limassol.
“I told them that my cousin was not in Cyprus and that his email was hacked by someone, who also had access to the remittance number.
They said they would investigate the problem, but that this would take a few weeks.”
After insisting, one employee at that company told the journalist that the money could have been collected by a “swindler with a fake ID.”
“I then told them that we both were victims of a well-planned scam. I said that I made a mistake by sending the funds before ascertaining my cousin’s message, but that they also made a mistake by handing the money without verifying that ID,” the journalist said.
“They then asked me to submit a non-payment claim request and promised to investigate the problem. One employee said he was not sure if I could ever retrieve my funds on the grounds it has been collected, but I told him that the money was sent in my cousin’s name and it was not my cousin who really collected the money.
“Anyway, I am still waiting for their response and hope to recover even part of the money, it has to be a common responsibility as both of us were victims.”
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