DUBAI police have arrested 47 seven Africans – 10 women and 37 men – for luring men to apartments in Dubai and then extorting money from them.
The police said the 47 individuals belong to 20 different small gangs who appear to have used the same modus operandi to attract clients and then extort money from them. Police allege that the gangs used females on social media to attract their clients. They rented flats under fake IDs so that they would not get caught.
Brigadier Jamal Al Jallaf, Director of CID at Dubai Police, said Operation Shadow was launched after the police had received a reliable tip-off that some African gangs lured men by posting and sharing photos of girls on social media platforms and via e-mails.
Al Jallaf said when the victim arrived at the specified address, he would find a different girl than the one he had chatted with online. The gang would threaten victims and take their belongings including mobile phones and credit cards.
“They (would) take pictures of the men in indecent positions and threaten to post their videos online and share it with the victims’ contacts if they report the matter to the authorities. The victims would end up sharing their mobile phone passcodes and credit card security pins and paying huge amounts to avoid being defamed online and among their family members”, Jallaf said.
The latest technologies used at their Dubai Criminal Data Analysis Centre were central to the breakthrough in the police investigations.
Captain Abdullah Al Shehhi, deputy director of the cybercrime department at the General Department of Criminal Investigation, warned members of the public not to fall prey into the trap of online conversations with strangers, and not to drift behind services they provide and not to respond to suspicious emails.
Captain Al Shehhi further warned the public against drifting behind the hyperlinks sent to smartphones, especially via WhatsApp, indicating the necessity of activating a two-step verification feature that prevents criminals from stealing data.
He urged members of the public to report suspicious accounts and online extortion to the “e-crime.ae” platform by Dubai Police, noting that received reports remain confidential.
This is the second major bust by the Nigerian Police in the past few weeks. Their recent high profile arrest was that of 12 members of a gang involved in a cyber scam involving $435-million.
Those arrested include Raymond “Hushpuppi” Abbas, a Nigerian influencer with 2.4-million Instagram followers. Dubai Police said Abbas portrayed a billionaire lifestyle in order to lure his victims.
Video source: Dubai Police