The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has warned citizens and residents not to fall victims to scams and online frauds, in the wake of a number of electronic crimes reported recently.
In a statement issued yesterday, the MoI urged them not to deal with any middlemen offering discounts to pay fines of government agencies or buy cheap air tickets through unknown online agencies.
Maj Ali Hassan al-Kubaisi, head of the Economic Crime Section of the Criminal Investigation Department, explained that fraudsters contacted citizens or residents through forums or social networking sites, offering to settle fines at government departments for half the value.
“The fraudsters would pay the fine using stolen or forged credit cards and inform the persons concerned that the payment was successful. The ‘beneficiaries’ would be able to verify the settlement of fines by checking the relevant websites and pay the fraudsters. But at the time of collection it would be proved that the transaction was made with forged credit cards, causing the system to reject the payment and the fine will be charged again.”
Maj al-Kubaisi stated that the department had received a number of calls from people who fell victims to similar frauds and ended up becoming a partner in committing a crime.
First Lt Mudawi Saeed al-Qahtani, an officer at Cyber Crime Combating Centre, said most of the cyber crimes, particularly related to the payment of fines, are committed by people outside Qatar. But they have brokers inside the country.
“They will be arrested with the help of the Interpol. The cyber crimes include offering airline tickets at half the price, wherein the fraudsters would be paying with forged credit cards.”
Ft Lt Jassim al-Kuwari, of Cyber Crime Combating Centre, asked company owners to scrutinise their online dealings so as not to fall victims to hackers who access e-mails and then steal all the available information.
Col Mohamed Ibrahim al-Jufairi, assistant director of CID, urged people not to deal with scammers and middlemen in electronic transactions and not to keep personal files or banking information on internet systems but to keep in an external storage.
MoI urged citizens and residents to inform the security authorities immediately, if they come across fraudulent activities, by calling 2347444 or 66815757 or through e-mail to [email protected]
In a related development, Ooredoo had last week urged customers to report suspicious numbers to the company as concern grew about an increase in “scam” calls
Many residents said they had seen an increase in the number of missed calls from unregistered numbers from overseas in recent weeks, particularly originating from Belarus, Latvia and Senegal. “When the owner calls back, they find it is a premium number that charges their account,” a source said.
Ooredoo said it was working with police services and overseas operators to trace and report these suspicious numbers. As part of this advice, Ooredoo’s security experts recommended that customers did not answer or call back international numbers that they did not recognise and did not send SMS or short codes to organisations that they did not know.
The company is also continuing to upgrade the range of security features available to customers. The Ooredoo App offers a “block list” feature that enables customers to block unwanted calls and SMS by inserting the sender’s number.
Customers simply need to download the latest version of the Ooredoo App for free via the Google or iTunes Store and register to begin a “block list”. Customers can add and remove names from the block list 24/7.
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