Over 50 Percent of Cyber Extortion Victims in the GCC Are Females

Published September 16th, 2018 - 08:31 GMT
Blackmail and banking frauds are among the top cybercrimes registered in Dubai. (Shutterstock)
Blackmail and banking frauds are among the top cybercrimes registered in Dubai. (Shutterstock)

Blackmail and banking frauds are among the top cybercrimes registered in Dubai, according to the Dubai Police.

A senior official said that with the increase in the number of social media users, the number of such cases are increasing and majority of the victims of blackmailing cases are women.

Major Saeed M. Al Hajiri, director of the General Depatment of Cybercrimes at the Dubai Police's Criminal Investigation Department, said that the department receives several complaints from women, who were subjected to blackmail and intimidation online. Many were blackmailed over their photographs posted on social media platforms, he added.

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According to GCC officials, over 50 per cent of the victims of cyber extortion in the region are female social media users. It was found that dissemination of personal data through social media is the most important factor that made women the most vulnerable victims of such crimes.

In Dubai, the police have identified criminal gangs that specialise in blackmailing and many of the gangs have been busted, said Major Al Hajiri. Other major cybercrimes include banking fraud, hacking bank accounts and stealing credit card details. He urged the public to not respond to any e-mails asking them to update their details on unauthorised forms.

"There are several hazardous software programmes online, which have the ability to hack smart phones," the officer added.

Major Al Hajiri said that cyber crimes involving Internet bullying and verbal abuse also were reported.

"Last year, the Dubai police had closed thousands of social media accounts involved in cybercrimes. Since the start of 2017, the police have recorded 83 reports of cyber threat and blackmailing. However, many people do not report such crimes because of the social stigma. Most of those exposed to blackmail and threats do not seek help from the police and prefer to try to overcome the situation on their own," he said. He called on anybody who are subjected to any threat on social media to report it to the police, who will handle the matter confidentially.

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