An Abney Associates Fraud Awareness Program on Most common cyber crimes in UAE

Most common cyber crimes in UAE are fraud involving money and extortion

Dubai: The number of people reporting cyber crimes has almost doubled in Dubai, according to Dubai Police.

Statistics from the cyber investigation department of Dubai Police show that they received a total of 1,419 reports in 2013, 792 in 2012 and 588 in 2011.

Lieutenant Colonel Saeed Al Hajiri, Director of the Cyber Investigation Department at Dubai Police, told Gulf News that the most common cybercrimes are fraud involving money and blackmail or extortion, especially sextortion.

He said these crimes are common because they are easy to commit from anywhere in the world.

All the cyber crimes that are found in the UAE, he said, are also found everywhere in the world, as the internet is an open environment.

“But what matters is how we handle them. We work with international organsiations such as the Interpol, VGT [Virtual Global Taskforce] and the Europol to fight all kinds of internet crimes.” he said.

He added that the “internet has a lot of evil; we get a lot of different reports and complaints, so we have up-to-date data of all the trends in cyber crime.” Recently, the department launched a campaign to raise awareness about cyber crimes such as promises of non-existent jobs, personal information theft – especially photos, money-related fraud and so on.

No tolerance for paedophiles

Lt Col Al Hajiri, said they get reports from people of all ages, and there is no specific age group that is most vulnerable.

However, he said, they have a zero tolerance policy for paedophiles.

“We are proactive in protecting children from internet predators. Anyone who posts photos or videos or content that have paedophilic themes is tracked and arrested immediately, and sent to court for trial and deported.”

He said that they do not wait for someone to report such a crime; they monitor the internet and handle it instantly.

In the UAE, he said, there aren’t many instances of children-related internet sex crimes.

People fall into the trap of internet criminals due to a number of reasons, all of which have nothing to do with how well educated they are, he said.

He explained that usually people who fall into the trap of online criminals have some weakness or character flaw that the criminal uses to abuse and exploit them. Lack of social intelligence, being greedy, not being content, having an emotional void, and having financial troubles are some weaknesses that criminals target, he said.

Pornographic activities are illegal, and people should not get into illegal activities that can later on lead to sextortion. Lt Col Al Hajiri added that the country has a proxy in place to block pornographic content in order to protect people. However, he said, some people bypass this security measure and get into problems related to sextortion.

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