DFSA cautions against fake DIFC firms
23 Apr 2020
The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) informs the financial services community and the public of scams in which the scammers falsely claim to be an Authorised Firm, based in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and regulated by the DFSA.
In such scams, the scammers impersonate or “clone” the legitimate Authorised Firm by:
• Setting up a fake website. The fake website often looks identical to the real website of the legitimate company. The website addresses are also similar with one or two small differences. In one example, the legitimate company’s website address followed the formula “AB.com”, whereas the fake website address used “A-B.com”, i.e. with the addition of a hyphen;
• Using the name, letterhead and logo of the legitimate firm in emails, correspondence and documents. However, the contact details are changed so that potential investors are diverted from the legitimate firm to the scammers;
• Using the name and logo of authorities who regulate the legitimate firm, such as the DFSA, in emails, correspondence and documents;
• Impersonating real employees from the legitimate firm and/or from the regulatory authorities; and
• Arranging meetings in the DIFC but, instead of meeting in the legitimate firm’s offices, the scammers will instead meet potential investors in a coffee shop.
One indicator as to whether or not a financial services company is genuine is the quality of the grammar and spelling in the documents of the company. Often scammers will use documentation which contains incorrect terminology, spelling errors and poor grammar. Some examples are where the scammers have:
• referred to their firm as being “fully fletched” whereas the correct term is “fully fledged”;
• cited legislation which does not exist; namely, the “DIFC security service Act”;
• named a person with the official-sounding role of the DIFC “Secretary General” in some parts of the document or, the DIFC “General Secretary” in other parts. Both the person and role does not exist; and
• named another person with the role of the DFSA “Registrar-General”. Both the person and role does not exist.
If you have any concerns about the authenticity of any correspondence or documents that purport to be issued by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), DFSA or a DFSA regulated Firm, you should direct your concerns to the DIFC on Tel:+971 4 362 2222 and to the DFSA via the DFSA Complaints function on: COMPLAINTS
The DFSA advises you not to reply to any communications regarding such scams, and under no circumstances should you transfer any money to any party involved in the scams.
The DFSA has a page on its website devoted to alerts in relation to scams, including scams which misuse the name of the DFSA and/or the DIFC. All Alerts issued by the DFSA may be accessed by going to: ALERTS
The DFSA has also issued warnings and guidance about the common types of scams, including Advance Fee scams, perpetrated on consumers. For more information on these scams please go to: HOW TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED
The DFSA encourages consumers to refer to the list of regulated Firms and Authorised Individuals licensed by the DFSA that is available on the DFSA’s PUBLIC REGISTER