technology leads to increase in mobile-phone crime -->
Blackmail was one of the most significant problems, as well as fake cash awards and international call scams.
"We were tipped off by reliable sources that some people were involved in communications fraud," said Lt
"After arresting the suspects, we found that they would make international calls by connecting a device called SimBox to a computer which, in turn, is connected to an overseas server. This allows fraudsters to make international calls cheaper than the legal cost, causing du and Etisalat to suffer losses.
"This is a particularly difficult issue to deal with because most of these sim cards with local numbers are not registered to specific people, so it's really hard to find out who does all these crimes."
Lt Alshahi was speaking at a seminar on mobile-phone crimes at Intersec, the region's largest security and safety exhibition, at the
With each SimBox able to host up to 24 sim cards with two lines each, and an international rate of Dh5 per minute, service providers risk losing up to Dh14,400 an hour if all 48 lines are fraudulently used at once.
"These are huge losses," said Lt Alshahi. "And criminals are now using smart devices so the challenge for us is much greater."
This type of crime is not new in the
"One of the issues we find with technology crimes, especially with mobile phones, is blackmail," he said.
"Since the early days of the internet, blackmail has been prominent, people hack into personal photos and use them for blackmail."
Other crimes include fake cash awards, where people are told to send credit to a phone number to claim their prize.
"A phone-fraud phenomenon has been spreading in the
"Within 48 hours of being stolen, the phone gets blocked in the
Experts called for increased law enforcement.
"Other countries should take the example of the
"We're going into a world of wearables so the value of what you're carrying as an individual is increasing.
"Realistically, kids nowadays have £1,000 (Dh6,000) worth of products on them so we're in a completely new world and we have to adapt to it."
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