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Friday, September 22, 2023

UAE Police Arrest 3 in Dh1 Million Phishing Scam

On Monday, Ras Al Khaimah Police arrested three individuals involved in a phishing scam that defrauded a company of Dh1 million (€281,000). The perpetrators posed as representatives of a company that had prior business dealings with the victim firm.

Colonel Tariq Mohammed bin Saif, Director General of Police Operations at Ras Al Khaimah Police, revealed that the incident came to light when the victim company reported the e-phishing incident to the authorities. The company had fallen victim to a sophisticated e-phishing operation, resulting in significant financial losses.

Describing the cybercrime’s operation, Colonel Tariq explained that one of the individuals assumed a false identity to establish contact with the victim company via email, supposedly to finalize an agreement related to their ongoing business relationship. The criminals then gained unauthorized access to the company’s email system through hacking and examined the company’s email contents, including purchase records and banking transactions. Upon discovering a substantial ongoing sale agreement with another company, the perpetrator took immediate action. They created a fraudulent email account closely resembling the genuine domain of the supplier company.

The fake account mimicked the supplier’s official communication channel and requested all future bank transfers for sales to be made through the new account. The victim company transferred the money for the purchase and awaited delivery. To their dismay, days after the transaction was completed, the agreement went unfulfilled, and they received nothing from the supplier company. Realizing they had fallen victim to online fraud, the company promptly reported the phishing case to the nearest police station.

After registering the case, a specialized team from the Department of Investigations and Criminal Investigators was formed to handle online crimes. This team conducted research and screening to trace and locate the culprits. The suspects were apprehended in another emirate when a significant transaction, estimated to be worth millions, was detected from an anonymous source into their bank account. With the assistance of Dubai Police, the RAK Police team located and arrested the criminals. Subsequently, the accused were handed over to the appropriate authorities for legal proceedings.

Authorities urge community members and businesses to exercise caution when conducting transactions and bank transfers with other companies or parties. To protect their interests and assets, individuals should verify the identity of company representatives through phone calls or face-to-face meetings before proceeding with financial transactions.

Fraudsters are employing increasingly sophisticated tactics, often falsely accusing victims of actions like closing bank accounts, altering account details, or replacing them with new accounts. These false claims are intended to mislead individuals or organizations and cause financial harm.

Major General Ali Abdullah bin Alwan Al-Nuaimi, Commander-in-Chief of Ras Al-Khaima Police, issued a warning to residents and business owners about the rising threat of cyber fraud, including email phishing.

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