Dubai’s jewellery shops, malls and restaurants have long been the targets of fraudsters looking to steal precious jewellery from their shops, hotels and other businesses.
But now there are signs of a new generation of jewellers using the internet to scam customers and the police, posing as jewellerers or other potential customers.
The latest fraudster to emerge from the industry is a former employee of a jewellery store chain in Dubai, and a former customer of the same chain.
Dubai police said that in September, the fraudster created fake accounts on two sites, and he used his contacts at the two websites to post fake messages to a number of people on the sites.
A police investigation revealed that on at least two occasions, the scammer created an account with the names and details of people who had purchased items, and used the fake accounts to send the same items to different people.
The fraudster then used a fake email address, and the message sent by the fake account to send money to the person who had bought the items.
According to police, the person the scamster was impersonating was a former jewellery salesperson who worked at the jewellery chain’s Dubai branch, which has since been shut down.
Police said that the fraudsters used the names of customers, customers’ addresses, the names, email addresses and phone numbers of the legitimate customers and used that information to create a fake profile on two online sites.
Police said that, after posing as customers, the scammers used the email accounts and other details to contact other people who bought jewellery on the two sites.
One of the scumbags also used the same email account to create fake Facebook profiles for the scammers.
“We were able to identify the person, but not his real name,” a police officer told Al Jazeera.
One of the scams, the officer said, was similar to one carried out in 2015 in Dubai by a fake jewellery seller who tried to impersonate a former client.
Police arrested a man, known only as Mr Mohamed, on January 25, and confiscated two fake Facebook accounts from him.
Police also seized the real Facebook accounts of two other scammers, one of whom was also arrested.
He is currently in police custody, and police have been investigating his real identity and his contacts, as well as other online accounts he used to send fake messages.