Romance Scams Prey on Vulnerable Women in Dubai: A Cautionary Tale

Miranda Hayes, Wendy, and Smita are just a few of the victims who have come forward, shedding light on a troubling trend that often goes unnoticed amidst the city's glamorous facade

In the glitzy metropolis of Dubai, where dreams are often crafted from sand and skyscrapers, a darker narrative has emerged, revealing the stark reality of romance scams and financial exploitation targeting vulnerable women.

Miranda Hayes, Wendy, and Smita are just a few of the victims who have come forward, shedding light on a troubling trend that often goes unnoticed amidst the city’s glamorous facade.


Miranda, a Russian real estate agent, found herself ensnared in a web of deceit spun by her Arab boyfriend, who levied exorbitant fines for trivial infractions, all under the guise of saving for their future. Little did she know, he was already married with children.

Wendy, a British restaurateur, invested her life savings into a property, only to be forced out by her Irish boyfriend, who manipulated her into transferring ownership solely to him.

Smita, a marketing director, was tricked into giving away thousands of dirhams by a man who concealed his true identity throughout their relationship.

These stories are not isolated incidents but rather symptomatic of a larger issue. Financial abuse, recognized as a form of economic coercion, leaves victims vulnerable and destitute.

In the UAE, where statistics on the prevalence of such abuse are scarce, women are frequently targeted by romance scams, with devastating consequences for their financial and emotional well-being.

The case of Briton Richard Dexter, dubbed the ‘Tinder Swindler’ of Dubai, serves as a chilling example. Dexter, a master manipulator, lured a woman into investing over £140,000 in a fraudulent scheme, promising a life of luxury and false business opportunities.


His arrest and subsequent imprisonment shed light on the insidious nature of romance scams, where predators exploit vulnerability for personal gain.

Psychologists caution against blaming the victims, emphasizing the underlying factors driving their susceptibility to manipulation. Vulnerability stemming from past trauma, loneliness, or insecurity can make individuals easy targets for charismatic con artists.

Amrita Anand, a counselling psychologist, stresses the importance of taking time to build trust and assess potential partners slowly, urging women to prioritize their emotional well-being over fleeting promises of love.

As Dubai continues to evolve as a global hub of commerce and culture, it must also confront the darker realities lurking beneath its shimmering surface.

Awareness, education, and support systems are crucial in empowering women to recognize and resist the tactics of manipulative predators.

Only then can they safeguard themselves against the insidious dangers of romance scams and financial exploitation, reclaiming control over their lives and futures.


This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

Tariq Saeed


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