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criminal law

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March 18, 2019

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Is my money safe? Account hacking on the rise in Dubai

Official figures released by Dubai Police showed a steady increase in cybercrime. Courts across Dubai are hearing more and more cases of bank accounts being hacked and unauthorised money transfers made by replacing SIM cards.

Out of the 1,406 cybercrimes recorded in Dubai in the past three years, 711 were related to hacking of bank accounts, breach of privacy and stealing data.

Earlier this month, official figures released by Dubai Police showed a steady increase in cybercrime from 268 in 2016 to 489 in 2017 and 649 in 2018.

Law professionals said that the country's two telecommunication companies must have a foolproof mechanism in place to check papers while approving and issuing replacement of SIM cards.

"In most cases of unauthorised bank transfers, offenders were able to carry out their nefarious design because they succeeded in getting SIM card replacement using forged documents," said legal consultant Dr. Hassan Elhais from Al Rowaad Advocates. He said that documents, including Emirates ID and passport copy attached to an application requesting a SIM card replacement, must be submitted by the applicant in person and verified in coordination with the competent authorities before the application is approved.

"By making the procedure more stringent, offenders won't be able to get SIM card replacements to access a person's bank pin code and other confidential data that allows them to make unauthorised money transfers," said Dr. Elhais.

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