Dubai: A former employee at an outsourced branch of Etisalat has been accused of hacking into clients’ accounts and stealing their 3.5 million reward points that he used for himself to eat pizza and fried chicken and watch movies.
The 25-year-old Egyptian employee, who formerly worked for Etisalat’s outsourced client services section, was said to have used his username and password to hack into the accounts of 19 clients and steal their personal details between July 2015 and October 2016.
The employee was believed to have then abused his authority to access those client’s details and stole their rewards points that he transferred to himself in the form of coupons that he used at Pizza Hut, KFC, souq.com and Reel cinemas.
An Emirati employee discovered later that someone had transferred his reward points, according to records, to get free coupons and used them at souq.com. The Emirati contacted Etisalat and notified them about what had happened before an inquiry revealed that the Egyptian employee had hacked into the Emirati’s account and stolen the reward points, said records.
Prosecutors accused the 25-year-old of misusing his login credentials to access clients’ details and steal the 3.5 million reward points worth Dh29,000 in free coupons.
The suspect pleaded not guilty when he appeared before the Dubai Court of First Instance on Wednesday.
“I have been in detention for six months. I did not commit any crime … someone else used my login credentials. We often exchanged our login credentials and used each others’ devices. I did not hack into any client’s account to steal the details and take the reward points,” argued the suspect as he asked presiding judge Ahmad Mohammad to acquit him.
According to the accusation sheet, prosecutors said the suspect was stationed at an outsourced branch and used to hack into clients’ details using his login credentials to get their private details, which he used to steal the reward points. Then he transferred the reward points to coupons that were sent to his email so he could use them for himself.
The Emirati employee claimed to prosecutors that he was notified by his bank that his reward points had been emailed to him in the form of coupons and plane tickets.
The suspect was quoted as admitting to prosecutors that he abused his authority [as an outsourced employee] to access clients’ details to steal their reward points for his personal benefit.
The trial continues.