The scam, which was “facilitated” through a difc.org email address, “claims to represent His Excellency Abdullah Mohammed Saleh, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)”, the DFSA said in a statement on its website.
The scam email purported to offer “access to loan funds” in the amount of AED3.5m ($952m) at 3.5% annually, which, the statement noted, could appear attractive to individuals looking for cash.
The email also falsely advised those to whom it was addressed that the DIFC provides loans subject to fulfilling various requirements, such as the ability to provide a project report or a feasibility study, obtaining a “General Licence Certificate” from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, or signing a memorandum of understanding with the DIFC, the DFSA said.
It noted that the scam emails were “linked to organised fraud”, and that individuals receiving them should not respond to them nor send any money to those involved in sending them.
Importantly, it noted, “neither the DIFC nor the DFSA communicates through e-mail addresses with the domain name, used by the scammers, of “boardmemberdifc.org”.
Part of the scam involved the use of a false MoU in an effort to make the email appear genuine. An example of the false MoU bearing the DIFC logo and letterhead may be viewed here.
Given that the DIFC is a 110-acre free-zone located within the city of Dubai, and is not a financial institution, it is not in the business of access to lines of credit, nor does it charge fees for accessing funds, or require individuals or companies to be licensed or registered with any free- zone in the UAE other than the DIFC.