Dubai: The punishment for creating spoofed accounts for others, emails or websites for government entities has become harsher in the UAE, thanks to new amendments in the Cybercrime Law.
The new law presents tougher penalties for email fraud or impersonating others on social media platforms for fraud purposes.
People can be punished with up to five years in jail and a fine up to Dh2 million.
New Federal Decree Law No 34 of 2021 has introduced major amendments to Federal Law 5 of 2012, Cybercrimes Law, covering crimes committed online.
According to Wageh Amin Abdelaziz, senior legal adviser at World Centre Advocates and Legal Consultants, the law aims to enhance protection against online crimes.
“Fraudsters target public figures by creating fake accounts of their names and use it to lure followers to con them through wire transfers. The same method is used in blackmailing crimes,” Abdelaziz told Gulf News.
“The amendments in the law combat any sort of new crimes,” he added.
He said the most dangerous crime in this context is hacking e-transactions and emails between two companies by creating a spoofed email of a company and scamming the second company for a wire transfer.
Article 11 of the new amendment that came into effect from January 2 this year states that anyone who creates a site, account or email ID impersonating others, shall be punished with imprisonment and a fine between Dh50,000 and Dh200,000 or both.
“The punishment can be two years in jail if the person uses or allows others to use the account, website or email to harm the victim,” added Abdelaziz.
He said that some create accounts for government entities, hospitals or companies to lure job-seekers.
“It is very important to raise awareness among society especially with people scrolling social media platforms for long hours,” he added.
Lawyer Mohammad Al Najar told Gulf News that anyone who intentionally damages, suspends or stops a website of a government entity or vital facility can be jailed and fined between Dh500,000 and Dh3 million, according to Article 5 of the new amendment.
“If the person creates an account, email or website for a government entity and uses it for a crime, the punishment will be up to five years in jail and a fine between Dh200,000 to Dh2 million,” he said.
“Harsher punishments will stop people from committing such crimes even if the purpose was for a joke. Intention to defame or take revenge are also some motives. Some people create accounts for their friends or relatives without knowing it is a punishment by law,” he added.
Pair tricked company to wire Dh100,000
In an incident recorded by Dubai Public Prosecution, two jobless men tricked a Dubai company to wire Dh100,000 to a bank account through an email fraud.
The two men used a spoofed email for the company’s client to obtain the money.
They requested the company to pay the dues posing as their client.
The company wired the money to a bank account believing they wired the money to their client.
A letter was received on the company email from another email whose ID impersonated a second company for commercial transactions.
The suspect managed to mislead the company by creating a similar email format with one letter changed, according to the prosecution.
The company wired the money to the first suspect who transferred it to the second suspect’s bank account.
Dubai Public Prosecution has charged the two suspects with fraud and illegally obtaining Dh100,000.