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Sun 20 Mar 2016 11:31 AM

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UAE resident conned into paying $4,000 for ‘rock in a box’

Shopper believed he had purchased valuable gold watch, says Abu Dhabi Police

UAE resident conned into paying $4,000 for ‘rock in a box’

Police in Abu Dhabi have warned shoppers to be on high alert for online scams after a resident forked out AED14,700 ($4,000) for what he thought was a gold watch but turned out to be a small rock in a “crummy cardboard box”.

The shopper, a manager at an insurance company, reported that he had received a package by mail containing a box with no logo and a small rock, Abu Dhabi Police said in a statement on Saturday.

Some time earlier, the shopper had used his credit card to pay online for a gold watch from an international auction.

On opening the parcel, “the victim was surprised to receive a crummy cardboard package containing a small piece of rock instead of his coveted watch”, the police statement said.

Taher Al Dhaheri, head of the Organized Crime Combating Section at the Criminal Investigation Department at Abu Dhabi Police, warned other residents against buying or taking part in online auctions.

He said: “The incident occurred a while back, but it [has been] publicised due to the growing number of unsafe online purchasing.

“Abu Dhabi Police has repeatedly warned against the risks of online shopping to prevent people from falling prey to cyber fraud, and to enhance community education.

“This falls in line with the Abu Dhabi Police’s strategy aimed at enhancing the public’s trust in the police institution.”

Residents were urged to email the police at if they fall victim to such crimes.

The number of reported cyber crime cases in Dubai alone rose by 23 percent last year, from 1,581 in 2014 to 1,820 in 2015, it was announced in February.

The crimes involved fraud, scams, extortion and stolen credit cards and several perpetrators have reportedly been arrested already.

Under UAE law, those found guilty of cyber crimes face jail sentences and/or a fine of between AED50,000 ($13,600) and AED3 million ($816,000).