A man who cheated his victims of tens of thousands of dirhams by selling them non-existent "unique" phone numbers has been arrested by Abu Dhabi Police, the Interior Ministy said on Monday.
Posing under different names, the 27-year-old Arab man sent spam text messages to potential buyers advertising special phone numbers that were easy to remember.
The numbers usually contained a series of identical or consecutive digits, said Col Ojeil Al Junaibi, chief of Al Gharbia Police.
The suspect convinced his victims that he could register those numbers under their names at preferential rates, the official said.
He told them that as soon as they made the payments - which amounted to thousands of dirhams each time - he would have his representative order the issuance of a new SIM card and have it re-registered under their names.
The victims often paid him by cash remittance after ascertaining that the numbers exist.
In one instance, he met in person with the victim who handed him Dh40,000.
According to Col Al Junaibi, what helped the suspect get away with his fraudulent acts for so long was the fact that the victims, especially those who did not lose large sums of money, were unwilling to report him out of shame.
Police are still questioning the suspect to determine where he has hidden the money that he took from his victims.