The Dubai Over-Payment Scam

scamThe Managing Director of one of our member companies has kindly written this article as a warning to others who may be approached and we know of at least 2 approaches:

‘It is not a common in today’s world to say you are grateful to a Bank Manager but I certainly am.  Even more surprisingly, this was not even my own manager but a good friend.

At a recent dinner, I was proudly explaining a sizeable order received from a new customer in Dubai.  He immediately cut me short in my flow to advise that it would almost certainly be a scam. He went on to predict that they would send payment in advance by way of a cheque direct to my bank for crediting to my account. This would most probably be for a much larger amount and would be followed by an e-mail with a lame excuse for the over- payment. The e-mail would ask that the over-payment less say 10% for my inconvenience be sent back by electronic transfer. A few days later, my Bank would contact me to say that the original cheque was returned and I would be out of pocket for the alleged over-payment I had sent back in good faith.

At the time I was disappointed with my friend’s reaction and put it down to his natural Bank Manager conservatism. But lo and behold, I have now been contacted by my bank to say that they have received a cheque by courier from Dubai with instructions to credit it directly to my account as I was expecting the payment. The cheque was for a much larger amount than the original order but more importantly was a fraudulent, cloned cheque purporting to be drawn on an entirely unconnected account.

Within a few hours, the predicted e-mail from Dubai arrived apologising for as they put it “the erroneous blunder” by their finance department.  I replied saying that was not a problem and that the cheque had been shredded. This was followed by a number of further e-mails practically begging me to credit the cheque to my account.  Eventually the e-mails ceased and whilst I put the lost order down to experience, I was grateful that my friend and my own bank had stopped what would have been a much worse scenario.

I have learned that this is a very common scam and is known as The Dubai Over-Payment Scam.  It almost always involves a new customer from Dubai who will say they have seen your products on your web site or recommended by a vague business associate. The goods will usually be high value and / or luxury goods. They will show no interest in negotiating the price of the goods, often offering a higher price than you ask for and they will almost certainly offer to cover all shipment costs. The e-mails will be in Pigeon English and usually originate from an address on an industrial estate in Dubai. They will ask for your bank details at an early stage and be particularly interested in the full address of your account holding branch. The rest as they say is history!'