Not everything you see on the internet is what it appears to be, and that’s the case of Dubai’s Instagram-famous star Hushpuppi involved in an online scam while presenting himself as an influencer on social media.
AED 1.6 billion scam in Dubai
Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, who goes by the name Hushpupi, shot to fame on Instagram as a successful real estate businessman in Dubai with a whopping 2.4 million followers. Most of his whereabouts were around high-end places in the emirate including Burj Al Arab, Palazzo Versace, Atlantis The Palm, and shopping around top-tier fashion outlets at The Dubai Mall. He boasted a lavish lifestyle endorsing premium brands like Gucci, Ferrari, Versace, Luis Vitton and Bentley.
It turned out Hushpuppi had a team of cyber-criminals forming fake pages of existing websites and redirecting victims to the Instagram celebrity’s bank accounts. The team was involved in an array of frauds worldwide amassing a staggering AED 1.6 billion. They even hacked email accounts of corporate giants sending fake emails to clients redirecting them to make payments onto the fraudsters’ accounts.
Here’s how Dubai Police caught Hushpuppi’s team
Dubai Police launched a mission, ‘Fox Hunt 2’ with a team of professionals who traced their frauds, emails and all forms of communication until they broke into their residences and arrested them. Hushpuppi’s team were caught with another AED 150 million worth of phones, hard disks, flash drives and computers. A staggering 1.9 million people were preyed upon in the scam.
“Dubai Police stand against money laundering and organised cyber fraud and online scams. We are up to date with the latest technologies and methods that gangs use in their crimes. We have a qualified team of officers to stand up against cybercrimes.”Lieutenant General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri, Commander-In-Chief of Dubai Police
It isn’t the first time an Instagram personality has been involved in crime. Last year saw Pakistani-Canadian influencer Aziz Com Mirza sentenced to imprisonment for selling fraudulent schemes to businessmen aspiring to make it big. He presented himself as a self-made businessman in the emirate residing in Burj Khalifa inviting investors to put their money in cryptocurrencies and real estate. Last week, According to Gulf News, Mirza is sentenced to spend six more months in prison with a $140,000 (AED 514k) fine, followed by deportation.
(Featured photograph credit: Hushpuppi)