12 expats arrested for cell phone lottery scam
Police have arrested 12 expatriates, all relatives from a South Asian country, for duping people via cell phones.
The modus operandi involved making phone calls to people claiming that they were calling from a telecommunications company and convincing the victims that they had won a huge lottery.
The victims had to transfer a certain amount of phone credit before they could collect their so-called “award.”
“The gang of 12 cousins are highly adept in GSM technology and were working from a mountain in East Jeddah,” said Lt. Aati Al-Quraish of Makkah police. He said that the accused were hiding the cash and SIM cards, including mobile phones, underground to escape detection.
Police seized 11 mobile devices and SR44,000 from their den. They also unearthed 68 SIM cards. “The loot was packed in plastic bags and buried deep under in what looked like a garbage dump,” Al-Quraish said.
Police have warned people against falling prey to scamsters who call to inform that they have won prizes that may exceed in hundreds of thousands of riyals.
Police said they received several complaints from the public regarding fraudulent callers who managed to trick them into giving them money in return for big cash prizes.
Al-Quraish advised people to approach police if they receive any such fraudulent calls.
The scamsters earn money by reselling the credit to others and escape by carefully covering their tracks.
Every week several South Asian expatriates receive such fraudulent calls telling them of huge wins in lotteries they have never taken part in.