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UAE says investor trust unshaken by real estate scams

The UAE's Ministry of Interior has advised end-users to be careful online so as to avoid bogus real estate ads, listing sites, and property rental scams

Property execs have called for tougher penalties for those caught running misleading realty ads.
Property execs have called for tougher penalties for those caught running misleading realty ads.

Real estate scams have not had a negative effect on investor or consumer confidence, but the UAE's Ministry of Interior has nevertheless called for vigilance. 

The ministry has also advised end-users to be careful online so as to avoid bogus real estate ads, listing sites, and property rental scams. 

Officers within the ministry, and its anti-crime squad, are being trained to keep pace with the latest regulations that can help to mitigate real estate scams in the country.

READ: Dubai records $15.7bn real estate deals in Q1 2018

Those found to be violating the UAE Cybercrime Law in regards to property scams face a fine of up to $816m (AED3m) or prison time, depending on the severity of the offence, the ministry said.

Director-general of the ministry's Community Protection and Crime Prevention team, Brig Gen Dr Salah Obeid Al Ghoul, said the public should take “precaution against those scammers who use bogus real estate listings”.

He warned that real estate scams were also implemented through social media platforms, with end-users being duped "into buying non-existent property”, Al Ghoul added.

However, consumer and investor confidence in the UAE property market has not been hit by the impact of real estate scams, according to the WAM, which quizzed senior real estate executives on the malpractice.

Board chairman of the Arabian Gulf Investments Group, Khalifa Saif Al Mohairbi, said it was unlikely that rental scams would hit investor confidence in the country.

He did, however, urge home-buyers to verify the source of unknown ads and listing sites before making purchase decisions.

Khaldoun Mohamed Saleh, executive director of Wahat Al Zaweya, called for tougher penalties against companies or individuals running fake or misleading real estate ads, WAM added.

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Construction Week - Issue 745
Jun 30, 2019