Dubai Police have issued a warning ahead of Eid about the rise in fraudulent internet purchasing
A increase in online shopping is expected during Eid al-Fitr, and the Dubai Police have warned the general people not to let themselves become victims of opportunistic cybercriminals.
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The police have issued a warning about con artists who are seeking to deceive consumers into thinking they have found a good deal by advertising discounts on bogus websites that closely resemble those of well-known businesses.
According to the authorities, customers who placed orders on such websites did not receive the things for which they had paid.
According to Major General Jamal Al Jallaf, who is the director of the Criminal Investigation Department of Dubai Police, criminals take money out of the accounts of consumers as soon as the customers enter the details of their credit cards in order to make a transaction.
Crimes of a sophisticated kind
"Internet users should only purchase items online via trusted and verified websites," he advised those who use the internet. "The nature of cybercrime is constantly shifting, particularly in light of the widespread use of social media and the growing number of people who enjoy shopping online."
Residents of Dubai who have reason to believe that the information that pertains to them has been stolen are being asked by the Dubai Police to register a report using the force's app, its e-crime website, by dialling 901, or by going to the nearest smart police station.
"The e-crime platform has significantly helped curb cyber crime and detect new methods of scamming people," Major General Al Jallaf remarked.
As a provider of cybersecurity solutions, Group-IB discovered thousands of fraudulent schemes targeting internet users in the Middle East and Africa.
In one instance, criminals were discovered utilising a bogus questionnaire to impersonate more than 200 of the most well-known firms in the MENA region.
Sharef Hlal, head of the digital risk prevention analytics unit at Group-IB, told The National that users were offered a 'Ramadan gift' in exchange for completing the survey. "However, rather than receiving a prize, individuals were redirected to other phishing sites that asked them to fill out their personal information,"
Group-IB shut down all of the domains that pretended to be well-known brands that belonged to their customers once it was discovered that the operation, which involved more than 100,000 phoney names, had been exposed.
Increase of fraudulent activity during the holidays
According to Mr. Hlal, holiday sales, such as those that take place around Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, have a tendency to draw both people looking for deals and others looking to swindle others online.
"Celebratory times are very frequently accompanied by an increase in fraudulent activity," he went on to say. "The primary goal of people who commit fraud online is to steal personal information. This comprises the usernames and passwords of user accounts, as well as the financial information associated with users' bank cards.
"Scammers create convincing clones of the websites and social media pages of well-known brands in order to trick users who aren't paying attention," the article states.
Mr. Hlal continued by saying that con artists will also try to establish chats on instant messaging apps as a way to trick people.
He cautioned the general public to exercise extreme caution whenever they were using the internet, but especially during the holiday season.
"Make sure you double check the URLs of websites contained in promotional posts on social media, and make sure that messengers are genuine," he warned.
"We also recommend that users do not follow links from unknown sources, particularly those that claim to be offering prizes or large discounts for completing a questionnaire," "We also recommend that users do not follow links from unknown sources,"
In addition to this, he urged business owners to be vigilant on the internet and in social media in order to identify any inappropriate use of their company's logo.
"Consumers ought to be given warnings by retailers if any violations are found to have been committed."
According to the findings of a poll conducted by the market research firm Toluna, customers in the UAE aim to make purchases that are 33 percent more than those they made between Ramadan and Eid in 2017.
According to the report, this phenomenon has become more widespread across all sectors, including the entertainment business.
The Eid holidays and festive long weekends have become one of the most lucrative periods of the year for cyber criminals, according to Emad Fahmy, systems engineering manager for the Middle East at Netscout, an advanced network detection and response platform. "Eid holidays and festive long weekends have become one of the most lucrative times of the year for cyber criminals,"
Mr. Fahmy said in an interview with The National that "there is a growing trend of consumers to shift their purchasing online." "Cyber criminals profit from the rise in the number of digital transactions and people shopping online, which places an incredible amount of strain on online retailers."
Two con artists were sentenced to one month in jail and deported in April of this year for tricking an Emirati shopper into purchasing a motorbike online from them for the price of 22,000 Dirhams.
The two suspects, both from Nigeria, tracked the victim's purchasing patterns and published an advertisement on social media in December of 2017. The buyer reached out to them through WhatsApp to make payment arrangements for the bike.
In the end, the Emirati guy was required to make an advance payment of Dhs44,000 in order to reserve the motorcycle. The con artists then asked for additional payments to cover the costs of insurance, customs, and shipping. In January, the two guys were taken into custody by the Dubai Police.