Posted on December 13, 2017

The Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) has observed an increase in the number of scam calls from international numbers through OTT apps like WhatsApp, IMO and Viber. Through this alert, CRA would like to inform consumers to beware of such calls and take the necessary action to protect themselves from fraudulent activities.

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. Scammers may also ask for information such as financial details, verification codes, passwords and pin codes. 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.

“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, adding, “CRA takes consumer protection seriously and is constantly working with the service providers to ensure the privacy of the telecoms 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.”

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. Furthermore a service provider will never tell customers to avoid sharing their winning news or ask them to send money to claim a prize you have won.

CRA is the communications regulator in the state of Qatar established by virtue of Emiri Decree (42) in 2014. CRA regulates the communications & information technology and postal sectors, and access to digital media. CRA uses its regulatory powers mandated by the Emiri decree to protect consumer rights, ensure competition, manage the resolution of disputes, and manage the electromagnetic spectrum. In all its activities, the CRA seeks to ensure the provision of advanced, innovative and reliable ICT and postal services across the state of Qatar.For more information, please visit: https:/cra.gov.qa/en

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