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Financial fraud most common types of cyber crime in the UAE

Close eye must be kept on children’s use of social media

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Financial fraud is the most common type of crime committed in the UAE on the internet, a platform which sees almost all forms of illegal activity, legal experts in the capital said today (Wednesday).

These online crimes are very difficult to prove and predators often target the UAE because of its economic status worldwide and the high use of smart devices among its residents.

“Usually those committing online crimes are very tech-savvy and realise that they can infiltrate databases and personal e-mails without leaving a trace. These types of activities are not traditional and can be carried out from the convenience of one’s personal computer,” said Counsellor Ayman Hanafi during a monthly media meeting at the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department.

According to the expert, the majority of cyber crimes originate from other continents, and are carried out outside the UAE but target a victim residing within the country.

Therefore, Hanafi suggested that several institutional and individual measures must be taken to combat this worldwide phenomenon. Parents and schools must keep a close eye on their children, especially with the spread of social networking websites where individuals can fall victim to slanderous statements.

Victims also have a major role in determining whether a suspect is caught or not. All incidents must be reported as soon as they occur otherwise the investigation may be hindered, the expert said.

“Prosecution and police officials have been well trained because any mishandling of devices could cause evidence to be destroyed. Furthermore, the UAE has developed the 2006 law regarding cyber crimes in 2012 and will continue to do so as necessary,” he said.

“Finally international cooperation must be maintained as such crimes are not limited to geographical boundaries,” Hanafi added.

In 2012, the Public Prosecution saw 140 cases of online crimes. “This number, however, is very low seeing how the UAE ranked as one of the major users of smart devices and social networks. The number of cases is not high enough to represent a phenomenon of cyber crimes within the country,” said Prosecutor Hassan Al Hammadi, Head of the Financial Crimes Section.

Those convicted of online crimes may face a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine not exceeding Dh2 million.