Dozens of cyber fraudsters who set up fake dating profiles and posed as recruitment agents to cheat people out of cash have been arrested by Dubai Police.
The force apprehended 47 members of 20 gangs accused of offences including social media scams, extortion and robbery as part of a major operation called Shadow.
All of the 37 men and 10 women arrested were from Africa.
Many of the suspects had rented flats using forged IDs in a bid to evade justice. But police tracked down the criminal groups in Dubai and another emirate, which was not disclosed.
“They were arrested for committing blackmail, cyber extortion and other fraudulent activities against social media users,” said Maj Gen Khalil Al Mansouri, assistant commander-in-chief of criminal investigations for Dubai Police.
Some offences involved crooks creating fake dating profiles of women to set up meetings with unsuspecting men.
“When victims arrive to a shared location, they would be forced to pose indecently then have their pictures taken before they were robbed of their money, credit cards and other valuables they have on them,” the senior officer said.
Brigadier Jamal Al Jallaf, the director of CID, said a married Arab couple were arrested in a separate operation for posing as recruitment consultants.
“The couple claimed to their victims that they could bring domestic helpers into the country despite the shutdown of airports imposed by the recently completed National Sterilisation Programme,” Brig Al Jallaf said.
He said the couple confessed they had been conning families by exploiting the suspension of labour recruitment and taking advantage of people’s need for help during restrictions on movement.
Forty-six people fell for the couple’s scheme and paid Dh3,000 each in return for the pair’s fake services.