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Emirati defrauded of Bitcoin currency worth Dh1.5m in Dubai

Amira Agarib /Dubai
amira@khaleejtimes.com Filed on October 4, 2017 | Last updated on October 4, 2017 at 02.40 pm
Emirati defrauded of Bitcoin currency worth Dh1.5m in Dubai

(alamy.com/ae)

Police have warned residents to be extra cautious and update their cyber security programmes.


An Emirati man, who was looking to sell Dh400,000 worth of Bitcoin currency, was defrauded by an Asian, the Dubai Police have revealed. After the Emirati transferred the amount, the Asian fled the country without paying him the value of the digital currency, which turned out to be Dh1.5 million.

This is one of the several cases the Dubai Police's cyber cell has dealt with recently. With the world going smart, the police have warned residents to be cautious when carrying out online transactions.

Colonel Rashid Lootah, director of electronic evidence department at the Dubai Police, said it is difficult to trace gangs that carry out transactions through Bitcoin currency. The transfer is done via an electronic account which is in the name of a fraudulent person. Once the person receives the transferred money, it can be converted into dollars through a purely electronic process from one account to another.

Criminals are carrying out extortion demands through Bitcoin, as it is difficult for the authorities to trace the money trail.

Col Lootah pointed out that digital currency is being exploited by international crime syndicates. The transfer is done quickly, "especially in the countries where it is adopted".

He called on residents to update their cyber security programmes to protect their systems against intrusions and viruses.

Other cases

The police have said cyber crimes are becoming rampant as online transactions increase. He said among the most widespread cyber crimes in the country is calling a person and telling him/her that he/she has won an award. Recently, a maid became a victim of this scam after she transferred all her salary to the account of a conman, who had contacted her on her WhatsApp.

In another case, a man involved in "magic and witchcraft" convinced a man online that he would get him his beloved. The man, who has been arrested, had trapped many of his victims on Instagram and Snapchat. He used to charge them between Dh20,000 and Dh25,000 for offering his services.

Col Lootah urged residents to take preventive measures and protect themselves from ransomware, which is spreading through websites.

He explained the police are doing their part by checking networks, softwares, databases and analysing all recorded audios and videos.

He warned against downloading private images on the Internet through private pages on websites, or keeping them on e-mail because those pages or e-mails can be hacked if there is no reliable protection programme installed.

amira@khaleejtimes.com

Amira Agarib





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