Dubai: A gang of nine fraudsters specialised in cyber scam were arrested after they had run 81 fake business across 18 countries around the world, Dubai police announced on Monday night.
Dubbed "Fox Hunt", the operation revealed a hidden online fraud network deceiving victims into transferring money in return for job opportunities.
The gang used multiple bank accounts to make money transfers and deposits totalling more than Dh32 million, the police added.
The con-artists were busted at their residence inside the country.
The e-crime team at the General Department of Criminal Investigation at Dubai Police confiscated laptops and mobile phones loaded with sensitive information on individuals and companies — including bank accounts and credit card details as well as documents and files condemning the gangs’ illegal activities.
Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, the Commander in Chief of Dubai Police, said the arrest is a new achievement by Dubai police in ensuring the emirate's security and safety as well as preserving people's money and properties.
Maj-Gen. Al Marri further reaffirmed the force's commitment to foiling cyber fraud and online scams using latest technology.
"As gangs constantly change their criminal methods, Dubai Police exert all efforts to qualify elites of officers and employees specialised in dealing with latest technologies to tackle emerging crimes," Maj-Gen. Al Marri said.
Major General Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant Commander in Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs, said Operation Fox Hunt is "a unique and extremely professional" hit for it prevented the gang from abusing 800,000 e-mail addresses, and foiled their bid to steal up to Dh4 billion.
Maj-Gen Al Mansouri praised the efforts made by the force's team members who arrested the suspects and mastered the use of modern technologies.
Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jalaf, Director of the General Department of Criminal Investigation (CID) at Dubai Police, said the case started when Dubai Police’s anti-cybercrime platform (www.ecrime.ae) received a tip claiming that some social media users were fooled by scammers who promised to help with job opportunities.
1,126Number of 1,126 credit cards attempted to be siphoned off by the gang members before their arrest by Dubai police
"Hours of continuous work and thorough investigations led to identifying the group of scammers who used social media to celebrate illegitimate wealth registered under the names of others. They were luring victims with fake employment opportunities," Brig. Al Jalaf added.
"Victims received phishing emails that deceived them into transferring money to complete fake recruitment procedures".
"Our teams closely monitored the gang and put the details of their IDs, bank accounts, residence, and cars under the spotlight " Brig. Al Jalaf revealed.
As Dubai Police were closely monitoring the group, they received a tip claiming that one of the suspects intended to leave the country, the CID team immediately drew up the plan and set a "zero hour" to arrest the suspects.
Dh 64 millionestimated total value of the balance of 1,126 credit cards which gang members tried to drain out
Captain Abdullah Al Shehi, Deputy Director of E-investigations at Dubai Police, said the arrest foiled the gang's bid to drain out the balance of 1,126 credit cards, with an estimated total value of Dh64 million.
Captain Al Shehi added that upon analysing all collected data, investigators realised the gang had run its business through 81 fake companies across 18 countries around the world, and they were disguised with a facade of wealth and false imagery.