UAE residents warned of phishing scam on VAT refunds

VAT was introduced in the UAE on 1 January 2018. I'm sure ex-pats find many items more expensive. Most were expensive before. Now, visitors to the UAE can claim back VAT but they are being warned about s phishing scam.

This article was in Khaleej Times.

The new phishing scam has come to light following e-mails being sent out to customers of a local bank.

Fraudsters are targeting UAE residents and tourists in a new scam ahead of the introduction of the value-added tax (VAT) refund system for tourists on November 18.

Emirates NBD has issued a statement to its customers warning that they should be aware of this new phishing attack.

"You may have received a recent e-mail with the subject line 'VAT Refund Notification', claiming to be from Emirates NBD. Please be aware that this is a phishing e-mail," the lender said in a statement sent to its customers.

"We urge you to be highly vigilant and always check the source before clicking on any links or attachments in e-mails. Emirates NBD would never ask you for your personal details such as account number, online or mobile banking credentials, and or debit or credit card details such as username, password, PIN or the three-digit CVV number," it said in a statement.

Jeff Ogden, general manager for Middle East at Mimecast, said VAT refund scams are simple in nature but are a good indication of the frequency, variety and the regional specificity of email impersonation attacks.

"Although these initial attacks don't appear to carry malware, stolen credentials or personal information can be used for follow-up attacks on all types of organisations. Consumer and employee awareness is important to help stop these cyber-attacks and it's great to see Emirates NBD on the educational count-offensive with prompt warnings and videos on social media," Ogden said.

The UAE's Federal Tax Authority (FTA) had announced last month that the VAT refund scheme for tourists will come into effect from November 18, allowing eligible tourists to request refunds of VAT incurred on their purchases.

The FTA explained that tourists will receive refunds through a special device at the departure point by submitting tax invoices for their purchases from the outlets registered in the scheme, along with copies of their passport and credit card. Tourists can either recover VAT in cash in UAE dirhams or have it transferred to their credit card.

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Wednesday, 12 December 2018