Abu Dhabi Police have warned of a fresh wave of online scams, promising job opportunities, pets for sale and discount deals.
The force warned of the risks posed by cyber criminals claiming to represent government organisations and established brands to lure in unsuspecting members of the public.
Police said some fraudsters used cold calls or text messages and set up fake websites to snare sensitive financial information and data.
One scheme involves setting up websites purporting to be recruitment companies, in which people are asked to pay sums of money in return for the jobs which they eventually discover never existed.
Other scam sites have been created in the names of well-known restaurant and supermarket chains offering special offers that can be obtained by providing credit card details.
Police also cautioned against being tricked by criminals offering pets for sale online, where buyers will be asked to bear the cost of transportation fees from outside the country.
Abu Dhabi Police said the public should never share confidential information, such as bank account details, online passwords, credit and debit card security codes, to unverified sources.
Police asked the public to report any suspicious activity through its Aman service by calling 800 2626 or texting 2828.
Stepping up the fight against fraud
The vital message comes only weeks after Dubai Police underlined the need for people to remain vigilant against online crime.
Police urged motorists not to fall foul of a widely circulated scam involving fake traffic fine notices.
Cybercriminals have sought to dupe drivers with messages featuring an official logo and similar layout used by the force.
Recipients of such emails are informed they must pay a traffic fine and are requested to settle the payment within 24 hours by clicking a link.
The link then directs them to a website designed to resemble Dubai Police, where users are prompted to enter personal information, including credit card details, to pay the supposed fine.
If the person does not respond, a second email is sent as a final reminder, warning the penalty must be paid within seven days.
“Dubai Police issues an urgent alert to the public, warning them against phishing emails,” the force tweeted in July.
“Scammers are using deceitful tactics, urging recipients to click on a link to pay fines and service fees. We urge community members to exercise caution and stay vigilant, as well as to verify the authenticity of any email claiming to be from Dubai Police to avoid falling victim to such fraudulent practices.”
How to protect yourself
Experts have advised people to invest in personal insurance to protect against online scams.
They are warning that a rise in the number of fake emails, bogus calls and duplicitous text messages aimed at tricking people into divulging personal details, stealing their money and even their identities warrants such measures.
In April, The National revealed how the UAE's Etisalat by e& was the latest company to offer personal cybercrime insurance to safeguard against online banking fraud, credit card scams, loss of internet purchases, cyber extortion and identity theft.
The policies offered by Etisalat for personal insurance start from Dh63 for a single device, which covers a potential payout of $5,000 if funds are stolen.
Etisalat customers can purchase cyber crime insurance from the provider's website. A policy can usually be set up directly on the website by sharing contact details and providing photo identification, such as an Emirates ID.