Property fraud in the UAE
It has recently been publicized that there has been an increase in the amount of residents of the UAE falling victim to scams, particularly present on social media, offering ‘too good to be true’ investment; opportunities; property purchase; and rental terms to unsuspecting consumers too willing to engage on platforms that already form such an intrinsic part of our day to day existence.
Engagement with consumers has never been easier than through social media. Advertising is available to anyone with a ‘page’ for a small fee and there exist few checks and balances on individual platforms prior to promotion of the chosen ‘post’.
Although the UAE has strict law surrounding Cyber Security, Data Protection and Consumer Rights, it is often too easy for fraudsters to take advantage of the anonymity of social media in order to scam unsuspecting consumers long before the authorities are able to take action. It is therefore imperative that consumers remain cautious and access the myriad of tools available in the UAE to ensure that proper authorizations have been obtained prior to the advertised product or service being promoted and purchased.
UAE Federal Law No. 24 of 2006 on Consumer Protection ensures consumer's rights and protects consumers against fraudulent commercial activities.
Further, the Dubai Land Department regulates advertisement of property in Dubai by requiring that all real estate developers and brokers obtain approval from the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) prior to promotion of any property in the media. The approval takes the form of a permit and requires provision of the title deed, registration details of the broker concerned, amongst other items.
A RERA permit is valid for just three months and has a unique permit number. Violating the regulations may result in a fine of up to AED 50,000. Consumers are encouraged to confirm the legitimacy of a property deal prior to engagement by not making advanced payment online to book the property, check the real estate agents trade license and confirm the advert permit number.
Despite the above mechanisms in place and even where consumers are vigilant, should you be a victim of fraud there does exist recourse and we are available to assist in recovery of your rights. If you have inadvertently been the victim of fraudulent activity please feel free to contact us in order that we may better advise you of your position.
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