Scams no longer target just the easily-duped. Even highly educated and internet savvy people are falling preys to the latest scams. Once duped, most people do not disclose this with their friends or family out of shame, making it even easier for scammers.
Ooredoo has warned customers not to trust “spam calls” from unknown numbers that ask for personal or monetary information, or pretend to be calling from Ooredoo or any other Qatar organisation.
Missed call scams
Missed call spams start by ringing your phone and hanging up so quickly that you can’t answer the call in time. Apart from being a nuisance, the missed call can lead to a scam in two ways:
- The number you call back may be redirected to a premium rate service (a number that starts with 190) without your knowledge, which means you will be charged a lot of money per minute.
- The number may tell you that you have won a prize of some sort and give you another number to call to ‘claim’ your prize. Once they feel you are convinced, they ask you for a ‘processing fee’.
Text message scams work by sending you a text message from a number you may not recognise, but the content of the message could sound like it is from a friend.
New scams on the rise
In recent weeks, there have been an increase in the number of complaints from customers who were called from numbers that appear to from within Qatar and UAE, and were told they had won a major competition. The scam team then asks the person to send the numbers of Hala top-up vouchers as a ‘processing fee’.
Ooredoo has confirmed that no such competition is taking place and that it will never ask for Hala voucher numbers from customers over the phone. It added that customers should not share personal information, particularly banking details and customer codes, with unknown parties.
Protecting yourself from scams
In case you are receiving spam calls or messages, here are some tips that can help you steer clear of them and stay safe:
1. Block unwanted SMS via Ooredoo App : Download the latest version of Ooredoo App for free via Google Play Store or iTunes Store. It has an option called ‘Block SMS List’, where customers can block unwanted local SMS numbers by inserting the sender’s name or number.
2. Do not to answer calls or respond to SMS from international or local numbers you do not recognise. You can try to identify the caller through applications like True Caller, which can also warn you against potential spammers.
3. Be careful of phone numbers beginning with 19. These are charged at a premium rate and can be very expensive.
4. Don’t display or give your mobile number to retailers, restaurants, or websites. If they insist ask them why they need your number.
5. Don’t provide your mobile number when you participate in surveys or filling out random questionnaires.
6. f you’ve already responded to a scam, end all further communication immediately. Call your bank to block credit card access and cancel any recurring payments.
Here is a video released by ictQATAR on avoiding spams and scams.