hacker, hacking, cyber attack, cyber crime
Police recently dealt with a case involving Dh300,000 being stolen online from a woman, but officers were able to recover the amount. Image used for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: Reuters

Sharjah: As many as 260 cases of job scams have been recorded with Sharjah Police so far this year.

Police recently warned residents about a fake job ad that had been making the rounds on social media. Police managed to trace the suspects, made a number of arrests and recovered a large sum of money.

Brigadier Omar Ahmed Abu Al Zoud, director of the Criminal and Investigations Department warned against offers of jobs against “recruitment fees”, which agents are not allowed to take from job seekers.

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Dh300,000 stolen

Brig Abu Al Zoud pointed out that police recently dealt with a case involving Dh300,000 being stolen from a woman, but officers were able to recover the amount.

Through this woman’s case, police were able to identify other victims of the same suspect who scammed her, and police were able to recover money for some victims in Dibba Al Hison and other emirates.

There has also been a 70 per cent increase in cybercrimes over the past two years, police said. Brig Abu Al Zoud told Gulf News that the age group of the individuals who fell victim to cybercrime ranged between 18 and 50.

“Most internet users don’t take security measures to protect their accounts, something that leaves them vulnerable to exploitation,” Brig Abu Al Zoud said.

For investigators, electronic fraud is one of the most difficult crimes when it comes to tracing the suspect, especially if the offender carried out the fraudulent scheme from outside the UAE.

“But what matters is how we handle them. We work with international organisations to fight all kinds of internet crimes,” he said.

He said the suspects used new methods to carry out their scams and therefore greater awareness is needed to avoid such crimes.

Tips for users
Officials stressed on the importance of not sharing personal data, such as bank account numbers, the Emirates ID number, or the OTP verification code. Users must verify the email address, avoid suspicious links in email or text messages, avoid using direct debit cards or direct bank transfers, and keep the operating system and other software updated regularly to avoid security vulnerabilities, the officials advised.
People must also double-check the URL, the website address, as criminals often alter just one letter in the URL to dupe users. The officials advised against clicking on any links in emails, texts, or WhatsApp messages without first verifying their legitimacy and source.

Websites shut down

Sharjah Police’s online patrols are operating round-the-clock to monitor cyber crimes and nab people who misuse social media and blackmail victims.

The police have closed 20 suspicious accounts and sites since the beginning of this year and arrested their owners in cooperation with the telecommunication authority.

He urged the public to report any suspicious activity immediately to the police.

Report cybercrime to Sharjah Police
•Call 06-5943446 or 06-5943228
•Send a WhatsApp message to +971559992158
•Email: tech_crimes@shjpolice.gov.ae
•Najeed: 80015

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New crimes

Lieutenant Ahmed Balhai and Lieutenant Nouf Abdel Rahim Al Harmoudi said cybercrimes that have been widely reported recently include fake job advertisements, fake websites and hacking.

Cybercrime or fraud is punishable under Federal Law No. 5 of 2012 on Information Technology Crimes. Article 11 of Law No. 5 of 2012, states that the suspect will be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year and/or a fine of not less than Dh250,000 and not more than Dh1 million.

They pointed out that since all of these crimes are related to the needs of people, some users neglect to verify the content or links to entities and institutions. These fake sites that are copies of official sites with a slight change that the user may not notice. The victim submits the banking information on those fake sites and is then surprised by large withdrawals from the bank account.