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The Shattered Dreams of UAE Residents: A Travel Firm’s Lucky Draw Scam

DALL·E 2024 01 22 21.57.26 Image 4 A group of UAE residents standing calmly yet with concerned expressions outside the closed doors of Apollo Times Travels office in Karama D

Hundreds Fall Victim to a Million-Dirham Fraud

In a shocking revelation, numerous UAE residents have been left distraught and financially drained after falling prey to a deceitful scheme orchestrated by a travel firm. This article delves into the harrowing experiences of the victims, the deceptive tactics employed by the firm, and the broader implications of such scams.

The Alluring Trap

The saga began with residents receiving calls about a free gift they had supposedly won in a lucky draw. Sneha, a Dubai resident, and her son were among those enticed by Apollo Times Travel after participating in an event at Dubai Creek. To claim their prize, they were asked to visit the firm’s Karama office. Little did they know, this visit would spiral into a financial nightmare.

At the office, what seemed like a harmless attempt to claim a gift turned into an aggressive sales pitch for a time-share package. Sneha, lured by the promise of an all-expenses-paid trip to the US for eight family members, signed up for a Dh40,000 platinum package. Sivanagaraja and his wife Sowmya also fell victim, investing Dh28,000 with the hope of a world tour.

The Harsh Reality

The harsh reality struck last Saturday when several victims, including Sivanagaraja and Sneha, visited Apollo’s office for answers about trips that never materialized. They were met with closed doors; the company had shut down, and its owners and staff had disappeared. Victims like Dipesh, Mohit Rajpal, and Arup Dutta recounted losses ranging from Dh9,000 to Dh41,000, with total losses exceeding a million dirhams.

The Widespread Impact

This scam is not an isolated incident. Timeshare scams have surged recently, with similar operations like Royal Palm and Royal Regis Tours and Travels defrauding residents. The victims, promised lifetime memberships and various perks, were left with nothing but regret.

Legal Roadblocks

While Dubai Police have recommended legal action, many victims hesitate due to the costs involved. The question looms: even with a favorable verdict, who will reimburse them, especially if the perpetrators have fled?

The Bigger Picture

This incident sheds light on a broader issue of consumer vulnerability and the need for increased awareness and regulatory measures to prevent such scams. The emotional and financial toll on the victims is immense, with many losing their hard-earned money to false promises.

Conclusion

The Apollo Times Travel scam serves as a stark reminder of the dangers lurking in seemingly attractive offers. It highlights the need for vigilance and thorough verification before engaging with such schemes. For the victims, the road to recovery may be long and challenging, but their stories serve as a crucial warning to others.

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