Sharjah Police take cybercrime awareness campaign to the metaverse

New interactive website features games, warning videos and e-crime scenarios to educate people of all age groups

Sharjah Police's new cybercrime awareness platform is now on the metaverse and features interactive games suitable for children. Photo: Salam Al Amir
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Sharjah Police has taken its cybercrime awareness campaign to the next level with a new platform on the metaverse.

The force's new interactive website features data, contact details to report crimes, warning videos depicting real e-crime scenarios and interactive games designed to educate the public, including children.

It is also designed to mirror the physical installation at Al Zahia City Centre.

There are many people suffering in silence from cybercrimes
Maj Gen Saif Al Shamsi, commander-in-chief of Sharjah Police

The new update comes after the force received 351 cybercrime reports from January to June this year, a significant rise from the 117 reported in the same period last year.

Brig Omar Ahmed Abu Alzoud, director of criminal investigations at Sharjah Police, told The National the total amount of money stolen through online fraud was "in the millions".

"They vary from individual losses of Dh500 [$136] to tens and hundreds of thousands in other cases," he said.

Maj Gen Saif Al Shamsi, commander-in-chief of Sharjah Police, said the rise in reports indicated a growing public awareness.

"The increased number of reports actually tell us that people are becoming more aware of the risks of e-crimes and are reporting them more frequently," he said.

He said younger employees who are proficient in technology had been instrumental in bringing its updated e-crimes awareness platform to life.

"Young blood understands technology better," he said. "They have been instrumental in taking our awareness programmes to the next level."

The platform features a digital version of the snakes and ladders board game that has been designed specifically to educate players about cyber safety.

When players land on a square with a snake, which normally takes a player down the board, it warns of behaviour online that could make them a victim of e-crime.

The squares are decorated with illustrations inspired by new e-crime trends, such as misleading and fake Instagram adverts.

All material on the platform covers a range of cybercrimes, including online extortion, electronic fraud, hacking, electronic plagiarism and phone fraud.

"There are many people suffering in silence from cybercrimes," said Maj Gen Saif.

"We want them to know they should not hesitate in coming to us."

Sharjah Police launch cybercrime awareness campaign – in pictures

Updated: September 21, 2023, 4:08 AM