The Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) has alerted consumers in Qatar about scam calls from international numbers through OTT (over-the-top) apps such as WhatsApp, IMO and Viber, and advised them to take the necessary action to protect themselves from fraudulent activities.
Stating that it has observed an increase in the number of such calls, the CRA said typically scammers allegedly representing telecom service providers call consumers to notify them about “winning” a large financial prize in a raffle draw.
The aim of the scam is to discover personal information from the receiver such as bank account details in order to “transfer the prize money” to them. The scammers may also ask for information such as financial details, verification codes, passwords and pin codes, the CRA has explained in a statement.
Upon receiving such a call from an international number, or through applications like WhatsApp, IMO, Viber and others, the consumer should not respond to the caller and should not share personal information. They should end the call immediately, block the number and contact the service provider to report them and/or verify the authenticity of the call, the statement notes.
“As telecom consumers, it is important to stay aware of such scams and take proper measures to protect yourself,” said Amel Salem al-Hanawi, Consumer Affairs Department manager. “The CRA takes consumer protection seriously and is constantly working with the service providers to ensure that the privacy of telecom consumers is protected and the number of unsolicited and illegitimate calls is reduced. To help with these efforts, we encourage consumers, if they have received scam calls, to report it to their service provider.”
Further, the CRA has stressed that consumers should be aware that the service providers in Qatar do not contact them through WhatsApp or any similar VoIP applications. Generally, service providers contact customers through a fixed local number that can be verified by calling the service provider customer service centre. Also, a service provider will never tell customers to avoid sharing their winning news or ask them to send money to claim a prize they have won, the statement adds.
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