|07 August, 2019

Soon, teens in trouble can reach Dubai cops in few clicks

The cybercrime department at the Dubai Police is making this possible

Image used for illustrative purpose.

Image used for illustrative purpose.

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The Dubai Police are making it 'easier' for teenagers to come forward with problems they are facing in the online world, including on social media and gaming websites. And they don't even have to file a case or go to a police station.

The cybercrime department at the Dubai Police is making this possible through the second phase of their e-crime website. This version aims to focus on providing easier access to teens and people of determination.

The e-crime website was initially launched in 2018 and the second phase is set to be rolled out in "two to three months", Colonel Saeed Al Hajri, head of the cybercrime department, told Khaleej Times.

"For teenagers, we'll open secure channels on our site that will allow them to contact us, so we can help them in the best way we can, without opening a case.

"This is because when teenagers hear about a police case, they get scared and avoid complaining about a problem they are facing," Al Hajri said.

Teenagers are the ones who are 'very active online', on social media and gaming platforms, he explained. "There are a lot of problems they may run into - for example, interacting with much older people online."

For people of determination, a special vehicle will also be designated so that the officers can go to the complainant's location.

'File a complaint in minutes'

Lt Majid bin Salem, head of the fraud section at the cybercrime department, said: "Through this platform, the customers just have to put in some details and give a description of the complaint. We can do the entire procedure without requiring the person to come to the station," he said.

"Now, it takes only five minutes. This will especially help teens because whenever they are in trouble, they often hesitate to even speak to their parents about it. Through this website, they can access a system that is 100 per cent secure."

Khaleej Times reported in May that police had received 9,046 cybercrime and hacking reports via their website.

Out of the total reports, 1,277 were requests for assistance on hacked social media accounts. The police were able to recover 1,177 WhatsApp accounts, 90 Instagram pages, and 10 Facebook and SnapChat accounts.

Lt Bin Salem added that the police do not track the social media activity of individuals, however, they do observe a spike in online activity during large events or activities.

Beware of this common cyber-fraud case in Dubai

Cybercriminals tricking companies into depositing large transactions into their account is one of the most common online fraud cases taking place in Dubai, revealed Lt Majid bin Salem, head of the fraud section at the cybercrime department.

He said cybercriminals start tracking e-mails of Dubai companies that make transactions to their suppliers based in other countries.

Then, they create a fake e-mail address, with just one different character in the address, and trick the company into depositing the money into a "new account".

"For example, I have a company, my supplier is outside the country and our conversations are via e-mails. The criminal follows the e-mails and when he knows money is about to be transferred, he creates a new e-mail similar to the company's e-mail and changes only one character in the address.

"Then, he emails the company and says that they've changed the account number and they can make the transactions there. The company doesn't double-check when they send the money," he said.

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