WHAT NOT TO DO IN DUBAI: BEWARE OF SCAMS IN PARTICULAR IN THE OLD TOWN BUR DUBAI
Here’s what not to do in Dubai: beware of scams. There are many common scams in Dubai that you should be aware of before you leave.
Especially in the old city in the Bur Dubai area, scammers target tourists. They are very well done and you may not realize you are being scammed. So here’s how to learn which are the most common scams in Dubai to watch out for. We bring you a comprehensive guide to the most common scams every tourist should be aware of when in Dubai.
In addition to a huge variety of things to see and do in the city, Dubai is also home to some of the most beautiful places and cultures in the world. But like all major cities in the world, it has its scammers who target gullible tourists who think they are doing important business or even solving their health problems by purchasing local herbs.
1. NON OFFICIAL TAXI IN DUBAI
While visiting Dubai, you will undoubtedly use a taxi sooner or later. While taxis in Dubai are regulated by the Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC) and the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), you may be tricked into paying high rates by scammers pretending to be regular taxi drivers.
Always make sure you take a taxi with the yellow taxi sign at the top and a number registered inside. The taxi driver must always have the official blue uniform with the wording RTA or DTC. You also need to have the taximeter with the driver’s photo and the starting price clearly visible, which is usually 5.5 aed in the city and 26 aed from the airport. A tip: you can download the careeem or DTC app for free with which you are sure to call official taxis. or always have the staff of the hotel in which you stay call him. If you need 5 to 7 seater taxis you can book a taxi ride online from the Careem app by selecting “Hala Taxi”.
2. RATES OF BROKEN TAXI
You may happen to take a taxi that looks like an official taxi from the outside, but is driven by a scammer who claims the meter is broken. Before starting your ride, always make sure that the taximeter is working and has a regular starting price. Remember that the taximeter runs by km and not by time.
The government standardized departure fare for Dubai taxis is as follows:
Dubai official Taxi: 6am to 10pm – AED 5 to 12 (depending on location)
From e to Dubai Airport: AED 26
Female taxi: AED 6 during the day and in the evening / AED 7 from 10pm onwards
Hatta taxi: 25 AED
3. FAKE GOLD AND COUNTERFEIT PRODUCTS
Although Dubai is famous for its luxury shops and sprawling gold souks, always keep in mind where you are shopping. You can only be sure of what you buy if you do it inside a shopping mall.
However, if you are shopping for luxury branded items, gold and jewelry at local stores, it is important to be sure that the store you are in has a registered number. Rule of thumb: If the prices seem too good to be true, they probably do and the item is fake.
4. SPICE PROPOSAL SCAMMERS
This is one of the things not to do in Dubai, follow a scalper who proposes you some spices that will solve your problems. The scam of the scam is this, there are observers (often Pakistani) in the city who purposely stop gullible tourists by leveraging their personal problems. For example if you are bald or have gray hair, if you have pimples or skin spots if you are overweight etc. They will look like normal people, often even well dressed. They approach you with the excuse of the good Samaritan and promise you “herbal treatments perhaps for hair loss” that cost thousands of dirhams. They are friendly and claim that they have had these problems before you but have promptly resolved them thanks to someone who made them discover the power of herbs. They offer to do the same to you and accompany you to buy miracle herbs. I agree with the spice sellers and after some unsuccessful visits to the supermarkets they take you to the accomplices shops.
They will make you sell spices at even 5-6 times the market value.
Sometimes they say they have forgotten the name and location of the shop selling the “cure” until another passer-by, who is part of the scam, joins the conversation and says they know the shop.
These meetings take place mainly in Bur Dubai, particularly in the Mina Bazaar area, and the shops selling the products are complicit and located in the area so that the unsuspecting tourist can be fooled and guided with a few moves. They are very convincing and you will definitely want to try this method because it will feel like you can solve your problems. Actually it is done on purpose, they act on this, on your willingness to solve a problem that is very difficult or impossible for you.Some of these products – usually hair oil mixed with a powder – can cost as much as 1,000 aed.
These crooks lurk near the Dubai Museum in the morning and near the York International Hotel and Astoria Hotel in the evening.
They are like hawks when they approach potential victims by exploiting people’s insecurities as true master manipulators. Obviously no “miraculous” herb will solve your problem but you will convince yourself that in this country with a deep knowledge of spices this is possible. If this happens to you, report the shop immediately, the police are familiar with this tactic and will refund what you paid. Contact the police immediately or the Department of Economic Development (www.dubaided.gov.ae and www.consumerrights.ae) or the Department of Consumer Protection of the Ministry of Economy (www.economy.ae). But in order to file a claim, you need to demand a receipt of the transaction.
5. THE SCAM OF THE BEGGING MOTHER
Common in most major cities around the world, the scammer targets tourists on the street while strolling. He will pressure you to give him money to support her and her child for food, or for an emergency. Begging is highly illegal in Dubai, and according to UAE Federal Law No. 9 of 2018, if they catch these scammers the fine will be very hefty around AED 5,000 and three months in jail. If this happens to you, politely refuse. If you are concerned about the welfare of the beggar mother, offer to contact the police for support and you will see that if you refuse it is a scam.
6. FAKE SIM PHONE CARDS OR FAKE INTERNET DATA PACKAGES
Buying a phone sim card in Dubai is smart. Especially for the fact that calling and having internet abroad is a real need for whatever you want to do there. In this way you will save a lot on internet and phone costs.
To do this, go only to the shops of the official company the Etisalat in Dubai. The process of registering a SIM card is quite laborious due to the formal requirements. They will ask you to fill in the registration form, passport provision, identity details, etc. However, it is always better to do this to get an official SIM card than to buy a quick and instant SIM card from an unofficial seller in Dubai.
Not only may the SIM card not work, some scammers will also ask you to preload the SIM card or buy fake data packages, so they will make you spend unnecessary extra dirham money. So only go to the official branches of Etisalat, Du or Virgin Mobile.
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