We have received five enquiries this year from people who have been requested to send funds to a lawyer because their partner has been arrested in Dubai.
The fraud usually involves a few planned stages:
1. An intimate but remote relationship is established with the potential victim, men often posting as US Military personnel. We have seen both men and women being targeted;
2. There is a promise of marriage or intention to live together and a serious commitment made;
3. The conman is then fictitiously arrested, usually en route to see the victim (actually, they are still in a warehouse office, somewhere in the world, working their part in the next scam);
4. The victim receives a message from either the Dubai Police, Dubai Customs or a senior advocate explaining that the partner has been arrested and they will need to send funds for the legal fees.
So far this year, five people have approached us to ask if we can check on the legitimacy of these requests, though this probably represents only a small percentage of the actual frauds taking place in this particular format. International con artists have seen that arrests and detentions in Dubai are a common and therefore makes a believable story.
Nigeria has been extremely successful at defrauding the world, receiving over 12 billion a year in revenues from scams like these! 190 Billion is lost every year to fraud in general.
We advise as follows:
1. You will not receive correspondence from the police or customs as displayed in the photo above;
2. If you doubt a loved one has been arrested, request their Embassy to confirm;
3. Never send funds abroad without exercising due diligence.
Certainly socially, it is necessary that we recognise and address this growing problem and create fraud awareness social campaigns that could help prevent fraud in all of its forms. Diligence is absolutely necessary and we encourage people to contact us if they feel any doubt.