Fake celebrity social media pages among thousands shut down by Dubai Police

Facebook has spent much of 2018 shutting down more than one billion fake and fraudulent accounts. AP Images

Police in Dubai shut down almost 3,000 social media accounts last year – many of them fake celebrity profiles and fraudulent accounts used for phishing and blackmail.

Officers said the 2,920 accounts targeted in 2018 was a third more than the previous year, when 1,799 were shut down. Some 1,899 were closed in 2016.

Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jallaf, head of the force’s CID, more than 500 were profiles that sought to impersonate other people.

He urged users to secure their accounts with safe passwords and report suspicious activity such as unsolicited messages.

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Facebook in particular has been bombarded with fraudulent users.

In November, it said it had closed 1.5 billion fake accounts in the space of six months.

The senior officer said many fraudulent accounts are set up to financially scam users or to cause harassment and offence.

Young students and business people are among the most commonly targeted, he said.