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For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Agency

Cairo: Police in Saudi Arabia’s Mecca have arrested three expatriates for committing fraud in several parts of the kingdom, Saudi media reported.

The suspects, all Egyptian nationals, were arrested on Thursday for involvement in several offences of online swindle and financial fraud.

They are accused of posting links on social media of fake insurance institutions, Saudi news portal Ajel reported. The trio had defrauded money and transferred it to outside the kingdom in collaboration with a Saudi citizen living abroad, the report added. The police found in their possession unspecified sums of money, SIM cards and computers.

It was not immediately clear how much money they had raked in.

Earlier this month, Saudi police said they had arrested 13 expatriates in the eastern city of Dammam for fraud.

The suspects, all Pakistani residents, were accused of impersonating a false identity and defrauding a number of people by sending them false text messages claiming their bank cards had malfunctioned and needed to be updated.

The trick gave the suspects access to the victims’ bank personal identification numbers (PINs) and enabled them to withdraw money from their personal accounts in collaboration with a Pakistani residing outside Saudi Arabia.

Last August, Saudi authorities busted a racket of citizens charged with making fake offers for used cars online and raking in over SR6 million in illicit gains as a result, a prosecution official said at the time.

In January, Saudi Arabia announced setting up a prosecution branch to handle cases of financial fraud in a step aimed to fast-track related procedures.

Under Saudi law, fraud is punishable by up to seven years in prison and a maximum fine of SR5 million.