Think twice before forgoing security features on your phone Image Credit: Pexels

Dubai: Three men have been accused of hacking into a businessman’s bank account and swindling Dh1 million using a replacement SIM card that they obtained with forged papers.

The British businessman was on a business trip to China in January when his phone connection got disrupted.

As he could not use his phone during the trip, he called up his son and asked him, according to records, to check with Etisalat regarding the connection problem.

When the son contacted Etisalat, he was told that there was a pending phone bill of Dh4,500 that he paid but the disruption pursued.

Few days later, the son logged in to his email that contained four email notifications from his bank notifying him that his access credentials and password had been changed.

Records said the son discovered that the login credentials had been changed without any of them requesting the bank to do so.

It is believed that the British businessman and his son realised that their bank accounts had been hacked when they noticed that a number of unauthorised telegraphic money transfers had been done.

When the son discussed the matter with the bank, he was told to visit Etisalat as the login credentials had been changed through the telephone banking services.

The British son thereafter reported the matter to the police once he was told by Etisalat that a replacement SIM card had been issued in his father’s name based on forged papers and a power of attorney.

Primary police interrogations revealed the involvement of two jobless Indian men, 32 and 31, and their 26-year-old countryman merchant in the case.

The Indian trio were apprehended shortly after that.

Prosecutors accused the 31-year-old and 32-year-old suspects of forging a power of attorney by signing it on the Briton’s behalf and having it stamped by Dubai Court’s notary public.

They were also accused of using the forged papers to obtain a replacement SIM card from Etisalat and then using that SIM card to change the businessman’s login credentials.

According to the charges sheet, prosecutors said the suspects hacked into the Briton’s account and swindled Dh1 million in telegraphic money transfers via the bank’s telephone banking service. They also obtained a credit card using the same forged papers.

Prosecutors also accused the 26-year-old suspect of aiding and abetting his countrymen duo by using the credit card to withdraw Dh50,000 for himself. The three suspects did not enter their plea before the Dubai Court of First Instance on Sunday.

Presiding judge Mohammad Jamal adjourned the hearing until prosecutors issue a modified charge sheet specifying the role of each suspect independently when the court reconvenes on December 18.