Six travellers were detained on their arrival at the Dubai International Airport for using tickets purchased with forged credit cards by international cyber gangs.
Lt Col Saeed Al Hajri, director of E-Crime Department, said the suspects from different countries bought the tickets from a website that offered tickets at a cheaper price. The arrests were made by the Dubai Police in cooperation with Emirates Airline, Fly Dubai, Interpol and Europol.
The crime came to the fore when a Dubai-based airline suspected that some tickets were bought using fake credit cards and reported the matter to Europol and Interpol. An investigation was carried out and the six were caught at the airport on their arrival in Dubai. The suspects were referred to Dubai Public Prosecution for further action.
Major General Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, assistant commander-in-chief of the Dubai Police for Criminal Investigation Affairs, commended the efforts of cybercrime department for monitoring those involved in similar fraudulent operations through their electronic patrols. Al Mansouri pointed out that the police have succeeded in working with airline companies to fight electronic crimes and arrest the perpetrators.
The Dubai Police have carried out five joint anti-fraud operations with Interpol to bust international gangs involved in purchase of tickets with forged credit cards, which resulted in arrest of 141 people.
The first joint operation was launched in November 2014, and so far, 61 countries, 226 airports and 69 airlines have benefited from them.
Al Hajri said due to the follow-up and crackdown on cybercriminal groups, the number of electronic frauds in the aviation sector has reduced substantially.
Banks in UAE are adopting necessary procedures to prevent such criminal acts.
When they come across a suspicious ticket purchase, they inform the financial companies, which alert the Interpol and Europol who exert efforts to ensure that tickets are genuine, according to Al Hajri.
He added that the Dubai Police are trying their best to check buying off of tickets from suspected websites or a “third mediator”. They are spreading awareness and urging people to buy tickets directly from the airline, or from authorised companies and agents only. The police are also working to remove the procedural gaps in the UAE banks and ensure that the official concerned takes necessary steps during the issuance of credit cards and implement safe solutions in cooperation with the Central Bank of the UAE.
Al Hajri underlined that measures are being taken to eliminate the risks to the aviation sector. The Dubai Police have updated the systems of the airlines, which has helped plug the loopholes.
He said cybercriminal is an international criminal. Therefore, as security authorities, “we publish the names of those involved internationally and produce bulletins through Interpol”.
Aviation sector on hit list
It’s fact that cybercriminals are targeting aviation sector, and causing losses of billions of dollars annually to the industry.
Lt Col Saeed Al Hajri, director of E-Crime Department at Dubai Police, said that these gangs work through local intermediaries in many countries, and the greater the number of buyers for tickets, the greater is the profits for the cyber criminals.
He added these gangs are spread across the world and their members belong to different nationalities. Since these crimes are growing, the police officials have been gathering information about these gangs in coordination with service partners, including airlines, IATA, Interpol, Europol, and credit card issuers.