More than 40 UAE residents have been scammed out of their money by an online shopping website headquartered in Dubai.
The website, SouqGitex.com, had an officially registered office in Dubai's Deira district. The company was formally registered as Spring Oasis General Trading LLC with Dubai's Department of Economic Development (DED).
StepFeed was contacted by more than 20 victims of the scam who told us that they had ordered items online but never received the goods.
The amount the victims had spent online varied from AED 1,500 to AED 8,000.
After numerous complaints were logged from all of the victims, the owner of the company, who we can only name as N.B. for legal reasons, absconded and is since being investigated by officials.
The victims have also contacted the Consumer Protection Unit and their banks to prevent further transactions being carried out on their credit cards.
"I ordered a Samsung Galaxy S8 online from this website. They took my money, I never received the phone, and I haven't heard from them since the beginning of August. They are not answering my phone calls or emails," Sharjah-resident Rahul Periwal told StepFeed.
Periwal has lost more than AED 1,800 and even visited the company's office in Dubai.
The office was closed when he arrived, but he was met by at least 15-20 people who had all fallen victims to the same crime.
The victims Periwal met on the day had arrived from Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, and Al Ain.
Another victim, who preferred not to be named, told StepFeed: "I saw an ad on Facebook about a special iPhone 7 deal at an amazing price. I made the payment via my credit card. I tried calling their land line number but no one answers it. I have sent them many emails but there is no response."
The victims have also created a WhatsApp group to share their stories and stay up-to-date with the current development from authorities. The integrity of the company has also been questioned by several people online.
Naveen Wilson, another victim who has also lost more than AED 1,500 told StepFeed that he did receive the phone he had ordered, but it was broken. When he asked for a refund, the representatives of the company disappeared.
The website SouqGitex.com is not currently working and the owner is nowhere to be found.
N.B. is also the registered owner of another website, SouqPoint.com.
N.B., the alleged mastermind behind the scam, was not immediately available for a comment on the ongoing situation.
The trade license of the company has since been suspended and DED advised the victims to file charges with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), the Dubai Police, and their banks.
The UAE government takes these issues very seriously and has repeatedly warned residents in the past to be careful when purchasing items online, buying used cars, dealing with unregistered immigration centres, or bogus recruitment agencies.