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Posted On: 25 August 2020 03:21 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:22 pm

MoI arrests 31 people for stealing nearly QR10 million in SMS fraud

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The Ministry of Interior has recently posted on its Twitter account about a recent security operation named "Uncovering the Mask" by the Economic and Cyber Crimes Combating Department that led to the arrest of a criminal gang that carried out cyber fraud operations and stolen funds from bank clients.

The fraudsters transfer the money abroad or pay bills and do electronic purchases after accessing clients' bank data. The total amount of these fraud transactions reached nearly 10 million Qatari riyals.

Director of Economic and Cyber Crimes Department stated that they received complaints that some had been subjected to cyber fraud and theft of money from their accounts.

The gang used methods like sending a text message that the bank card had been suspended and he has to call a specified phone number or that he had won a large amount of money as a prize.

Once the victim responds to these messages, the criminal asks the victim to send them the OTP or the verification code they receive on their phone (which is used by financial institutions as an extra step of security for customers).

After accessing OTP or verification code from the victim, the criminal to break into the victim’s bank account and transfer money abroad, pay bills, or make online purchases.

The Department formed a high-level search and investigation team and carried out an operation named ‘Uncovering the Mask’.

The team conducted investigations, tracked suspicious money transfers, and monitored a number of persons from some Asian countries.

After obtaining the permission of the Public Prosecution, the investigation team arrested the gang members who were inside the country and seized many devices. It was also found that some members of the gang are residing in other countries. According to the video posted by MOI below, 31 people from the criminal group were arrested.

The Ministry of Interior calls on all citizens and residents to exercise caution and not to respond to these types of suspicious messages and not to disclose personal and banking data to unknown individuals or institutions.

This fraud is known as smishing, which is a form of phishing. Smishing is when someone tries to trick you into giving them your private information via a text or SMS message, according to Norton.

SEE ALSO: Cyber crimes in Qatar: The law and how to report them

Source: Ministry of Interior Qatar