Dubai: Dubai Police are warning people of the dangers of using online dating apps in the light of recent scams.
In a recent video, Dubai Police said that people who use online dating platforms can be obvious targets for fraud with scammers developing new faces of embezzlement.
The video showed a man checking a dating app on his mobile phone and contacting strangers.
In the video, the man is shown to have received a message about the location of an unlicensed, secret, massage parlour. He drove his car to the centre, which was only a bait for criminals to steal his money and credit cards.
As soon as the apartment door opened, the man was seen going inside before he was heard screaming due to a physical assault launched on him by a gang of criminals who specialised in blackmailing people and stealing their money.
“Avoid being a victim of dating sites,” police said in the video.
Last week, Dubai police arrested 47 members of 20 gangs from African countries, who used similar criminal ways to blackmail numerous victims through dating apps.
The gangs create accounts with pictures of women to lure the victim.
When the victim reaches the address of the girl, he is initially surprised to see that she isn’t like the one in the photo. Later, the gang members steal the victim’s belongings such as mobile phones, money and credit cards, and take indecent pictures of the victim to threaten him not to report the incident to police, Dubai Police said.
The gangs that have been caught used to rent apartments with fake documents. They used to withdraw the victims’ money through his credit cards before releasing him and threatening to publish his images on social media if he called the police.
What prompted this advisory?
Major-General Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant Commander-in-Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs, warned of dating apps and fake advertisements on social media platforms to protect themselves from blackmail.
“Community members should be careful about chatting with unknown people on social media platforms or opening suspicious links, to protect their smart devices. Online scams are developing with the advancement of technology and fraudsters are using it to lure their victims,” Maj Gen Al Mansouri said.