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Inside a secret scam factory where workers pretend to be glamorous models

Out in the desert on the outskirts of Dubai sits a secret scam factory capable of swindling tens of thousands of people at a time.

Inside, the scammers smoke, eat and furiously type on their computers as they pretend to be wealthy Eastern European women or models from Spain.

At least some of the millions of scam text messages baiting foreigners, including Australians, come from this place. It’s a sophisticated operation, seemingly out of reach of the victims they target.

But last year the syndicate was uncovered following the chance meeting of an Australian divorcee, a private detective, a YouTube scam-baiter and one of the scammers himself, who worked from the inside to take the operation down.

‘I went to a scam job wearing a suit’

Evan* thought he was on his way to an interview for a marketing job but as the car pulled away from Dubai, he began to worry.

“At first, we were seeing the city through the horizon,” he says.

Not sure where he was heading, Evan pulled out his phone.

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