Police log on to cyber criminal antics
Victims help snare online blackmailers
More than 120 people have been arrested for cybercrime offences, with sexual blackmail among the most prevalent crimes, according to statistics released by Sharjah Police.
Suspects from within the UAE and abroad were among those caught.
As seen in a spate of recent court cases in Sharjah and Dubai, victims coming forward and contacting police has led to the perpetrators being tracked down.
Colonel Ibrahim Al Ajel, Director of the Criminal Investigation Department at Sharjah Police, said: “There were 94 cases of cybercrimes in this year and 122 suspects were arrested.
“Since 2015, we have dealt with 214 cybercrime cases and 239 suspects have been arrested. Cybercrime offenders are hard to track or to catch.
“It is hard to identify the crime scene or the tool used to carry out the crime.
“And it’s another challenge if the offender lives outside the UAE. However, Sharjah Police works with international organisations to fight all kinds of cyber fraud.”
Police said cybercrime offenders typically commit their crime through phone scams, extortion and defamation.
Among the recent cases seen in court are instances where teenage girls have sent semi-naked pictures to male friends, only to see themselves blackmailed. In some cases, the blackmailers ask for money in exchange for not posting the pictures on social media or sending them to her family.
Among the more unusual cases was a Sharjah conman who posed as a female matchmaker to swindle money out men and women hoping to find suitable spouses. The man, who used the name Reem, offered to help arrange marriages and introductions for as much as Dhs60,000 to Dhs70,000, only to run off with the cash.
Al Ajel urged internet users to avoid sending personal details to people they do not know.