Dubai: Police have warned online dating app users to be cautious while interacting with people on those apps.
In its latest video message, Dubai Police said: “Bad desires of some people may lead them to communicate with some unknown people through dating websites or unlicensed secret massage centres for luring victims first and then stealing and blackmailing them. Avoid being a victim of dating sites. Online dating platforms can be obvious targets for fraud, with scammers developing new faces of embezzlement.”
The video showed a man checking a dating app on his mobile phone and contacting strangers.
In the video, the man is shown to have received a message about the location of an unlicensed, secret, massage parlour. He drove his car to the centre, which was only a bait for criminals to steal his money and credit cards.
As soon as the apartment door opened, the man was seen going inside before he was heard screaming due to a physical assault on him by a gang of criminals who specialised in blackmailing people and stealing their money.
“Avoid being a victim of dating sites,” the police warning further said in the video.
The Dubai Police warning comes in light of recent scams that rocked some people using online dating apps.
Last month, Dubai Police arrested 47 members of 20 gangs from various African countries, who used similar criminal means to blackmail numerous victims through dating apps.
The gangs create accounts with pictures of women to lure the victim.
When the victim reaches the designated address where the woman is supposed to be staying, he is surprised to see that the woman on hand isn’t like the one in the photo on the dating app. Soon, the gang members arrive on the spot and steal the victim’s belongings such as mobile phone, money and credit cards. They also take indecent pictures of the victim and threaten him with dire consequences if the matter is reported to the police, Dubai Police said.
The gangs that have been caught used to rent apartments with fake documents. They used to withdraw money through the victim’s credit cards and then let him go, threatening to publish his photos on social media if he ever informed the police.
Last month, Major-General Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant Commander-in-Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs, had sent out a stern warning about dating apps and fake advertisements on social media platforms and advised people to protect themselves from blackmail.
“Community members should be careful about chatting with unknown people on social media platforms or opening suspicious links, to protect their smart devices. Online scams are developing with the advancement of technology and fraudsters are using it to lure their victims,” Maj Gen Al Mansouri had said earlier.