phishing, hacking, hacker, cybercrime
Picture for illustrative purposes - cyber crime Image Credit: Pixabya

Dubai: Awareness of e-crimes is still relatively poor despite campaigns, a Dubai Public Prosecution official has said.

Senior Prosecutor Dr. Khalid Ali Al Junaibi, said that the level of e-crimes in Dubai is minor compared to other countries but still many people fall victim.

“The major e-crime is the winning a prize scam or someone calling asking for bank details to update a person’s bank account. It is a minor level of crime but the level of awareness is still relatively poor among the public,” Prosecutor Al Junaibi said during a virtual session about e-crimes and spreading rumours.

The session, organised by the Community Development Authority in cooperation with Dubai Public Prosecution, was held on Monday through Instagram to explain to the public the danger of online scams.

“Don’t trust any offer on social media and don’t give access to smart applications in your devices like phones, computers and tablets. Scammers can use your data to gain access to your money,” Al Junaibi added.

With the huge development of technology and artificial intelligence, criminals can mimic the person’s voice or signature to con others and steal their money, according to Al Junaibi.

“There is a programme the scammer can use to make a video for a celebrity and then contact the victim posing as the celebrity to deceive him. Other programmes now mimic the voice of the person and then contact others with the same tone,” Al Junaibi said.

“We spotted such cases in other countries and we should raise awareness in the UAE to avoid such scams.”

He believes that parents, schools, government entities, embassies and consulates should play more of a role in raising the awareness of e-crimes in the UAE through more campaigns, workshops and campaigns.

Al Junaibi also urged people to check the website before purchasing items as most people use their credit cards to purchase items, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

“The global online scams bill is estimated to be worth US$4 trillion, according to an international study published in 2019. That shows how dangerous online crimes can be,” he said.

The UAE was one of the first countries in the region to introduce a cyber-crime law to prevent e-crimes, but Al Junaibi believes these laws need to be regularly updated to match the rapid development of technology.

“After four or five years, the laws might be not enough in front of developing cyber-crimes. The last update to the law was in 2012 and it is a long period of time with the rapid development of e-crimes in the world,” Al Junaibi added.

Al Junaibi said that in one of the cases, an elderly woman received a call from a person posed as a bank employee and claimed that her credit card was blocked and he asked for a copy of her passport and ID. She gave her details after trusting the caller and the man stole her savings.

“Fraudsters are using a new trend of scams after many people became aware of wining prize scams,” said Al Junaibi. “The new way is by posing as a bank agent and calling the victim asking for information and details to update the bank account, or by claiming that there is a block on the credit card. Don’t give your details or ID to strangers over the phone,” Al Junaibi added.