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Cyber blackmail cases more than doubled in past year: Dubai Police.

The Telecommunications Regulation Authority (TRA) today held a press conference to launch its new campaign in collaboration with "Al Ameen Service" launched by Dubai Police, aimed at promoting awareness on Cyber Blackmail, an increasing problem in the region.

According to Saeed Alhajri from the Dubai Police, in 2014, 212 cases

of extortion and blackmail via social media had been reported compared to 80 in

2013. He noted that this is just the number that the police know of and believes

there are many more cases that go unreported.

Alhajri said: "Criminals use different social media or

matching applications to identify their victims. Then they get them to behave inappropriately

on the screen and either ask them to send photos or record videos. Once the

criminal has the sexual material they blackmail their victim."

When asked if victims are scared to come forward and if there

was a punishment for victims,

Alhajri said

that each case was different and treated individually.

The campaign is aimed at educating users in the

UAE on the risks and consequences caused by careless internet use and raising

awareness on being cautious while sharing data on the web.

Alhajri also said that before

2015, in most of the cases the victims were women, however criminals have

developed their techniques and methods and "they know how to trap people" so

the numbers of men and women victims are equal.

Victims of Cyber blackmail range from young teens to

people in their forties and fifties and criminals are often outside of the UAE meaning

that police are working closely with other authorities. Anyone found guilty of extortion

inside the UAE could face a prison sentence of up to ten years.

When asked

if criminals can still be caught if they are using a VPN, Alhajri pointed

out that this in itself was a criminal offence: "Manipulating the network is a

crime by itself under UAE law. We have a special article just for this. We don't

look at the case from just one angle, we are waiting for the criminal to fail

on just one fault."

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Date:Mar 9, 2015
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