Police urge citizens to be wary of rising cyber-crime and fraud

The Maldives Police Services (MPS) has urged all citizens to be wary of cyber-crimes and the increasing prevalence of money-grabbing scams.

Speaking at a press conference today, MPS Drug Enforcement Department head Superintendent Ahmed Shifan said that cyber-crime has become an “emerging and trending” issue, with a separate police unit tasked with dealing with the problem.

Local media reported yesterday (December 30) that the Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr Mohamed Shaheem was claiming his official twitter account had been hacked and that all tweets posted after 11pm on December 29 were not posted by him.

Shaheem’s account showed one post after 11pm which reiterated his previously expressed discontent towards the Tourist Arrival Countdown Show which, at the time, was to feature Jamaican dancehall artist Sean Paul.

Sean Paul has since cancelled his appearance in the show, citing security concerns after a death threat appeared on Youtube last week. Religious religious groups within the country also called for the performance to be stopped.

In a press statement released today, the police also urged citizens to be more vigilant towards scams and embezzlement.

While revealing that two or three such cases are filed every week, the statement also said that such cases were difficult to proceed with because such criminals are often hard to trace.

The statement said that some of the most commonly reported cases were those where customers put in more money than was paid when getting mobile phone reload or ‘raastas’ services, and when scammers promised to provide gifts for money.

Police requested that people not hand money to anyone communicating through unknown phone numbers or individuals who promise monetary profits in return. They also urged shop keepers to dial in mobile phones of customers themselves.

People were asked to report any suspicious requests and to carry out monetary transactions more carefully.

Statistics provided by the police show that 374 embezzlement cases have been reported this year, compared to 391 in 2013.

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