x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Police warn against SMS and e-mail fraud

SMS and e-mail users who do not take enough precautions are partly to blame for electronic fraud, officials said amid an ongoing police campaign against such crimes.

ABU DHABI // SMS and e-mail users who do not take enough precautions are partly to blame for electronic fraud, officials said amid an ongoing police campaign against such crimes. Maj Gen Nasser al Nuaimi, director at the Office of the Interior Minister, criticised "those who simply fall victims for such fraudulent practices" despite repeated warnings by the police and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), according to a police statement.

"Modern technology serves mankind; however some people, globally, have misused it taking it as a vehicle to victimise simple people," Gen al Nuaimi said. "SMS and e-mail stories vary, some of which tell false human tragedies requesting support and help for a handicapped or a sick person. Other text messages make people dream of winning millions of dollars and dirhams." He said consumers should not fall for such attempts to get them to release personal information.

The statement said e-mail scams were the most prevalent form of electronic fraud. Starting today, 10 million text messages will be sent to mobile phone users throughout the UAE warning them of the dangers of mobile phone fraud. Police officials have also promised to release statistics detailing the extent of the problem in the country. In July, Abu Dhabi Police said they received complaints from mobile phone users who were swindled for amounts ranging from Dh2,500 (US$680) to Dh95,000.

Sharjah Police arrested 28 people in June on charges of phone fraud after they were accused of sending text messages and calling people claiming they had won cash prizes in an Etisalat lottery. The number of fraud victims declined in July as a result of ramped-up awareness efforts, according to the Government. newsdesk@thenational.ae