Dubai Police smoke out ‘Snapchat Babe’ - GulfToday

Dubai Police smoke out ‘Snapchat Babe’

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The photo has been used for illustrative purpose only.

Hamza M Sengendo, Staff Reporter

A male GCC national posing as a Snapchat babe to con youth out cash and valuables is under arrest, police announced on Sunday. He targeted more than 50.

The defendant is a man who enjoys good reputation in his social environment, works in a prestigious position and receives a salary that guarantees his well-being and quality of life, explained senior Dubai Police officers.

But, his greed for more led him to the ugliest ways of earning, making use of the digital space and the ease of hiding behind phantom accounts on Snapchat. He impersonated several Gulf girls to trap and cheat youngsters.

He would ask them to transfer money to him to win his satisfaction and affection or set appointments for possible meetings. He continued waging the fraudulent campaigns for two years and victimised more than 50 youths.

“The ‘Snapchat Babe’ case surfaced after a girl, by coincidence, discovered someone was managing a fictitious account using her photos,” said the Criminal Investigations Department Director, Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jallaf.

She contacted the Dubai Police CID’s “eCrime” platform (website: www.ecrime.ae) seeking help. Police saved her and four other Gulf girls from fraudulent activities he was conducting in five fake accounts using their photos.

“Police monitored his activities for one week and discovered he had started the ugly activities two years ago. He established a fictitious account using a GCC girl’s photo to lure others into adding him to their private accounts.

“He used sophisticated programmes that hide the process of photographing screens. He obtained photos of girls that he used to establish five fictitious accounts with each containing more of their photos in various positions.”

Before the police, the defendant reportedly confessed to have been using girls’ photos to dupe youngsters into sending him money and valuable gifts. Police have referred him to the Dubai Public Prosecution for further procedures.

On his part, the Deputy Director of Cyber Investigation Department, Captain Abdullah Al Shehhi said, "Some social media influencers or celebrities simply refer to fictitious accounts and call on their followers not to deal with them.

“This step does not put an end to the problem. They must report through the "eCrime” platform for us to arrest perpetrators and shut the accounts.” Al Jallaf added, “Police handle such cases with very high levels of confidentiality.”

Dubai Police urge social sites users to be careful, not to trust strangers or add those whom they do not know well, and most importantly not to share private photos to avoid leakage of those photos or manipulation in cybercrime.