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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Ooredoo warns Qatar customers of new cell phone scam

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For illustrative purposes only.
For illustrative purposes only.

Ooredoo has said it is investigating what it suspects to be a local gang running a phone scam in an attempt to defraud residents.

The country’s largest telecom firm said in a statement that it has received reports of its customers being called by individuals who are falsely pretending to be representatives of Ooredoo and other local companies.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Appearing to be calling from a number within Qatar, these individuals tell their would-be victims that they’ve just won a major competition. In order to claim their prize, however, they must send in the codes from Ooredoo’s Hala prepaid wireless service vouchers as “processing fees.”

Ooredoo said it is not running any such competition and would never request its customers’ Hala voucher numbers over the phone. The company is reminding customers never to provide their financial information or other personal details.

“We ask our customers to be cautious when receiving calls of this nature,” Ooredoo spokesperson Fatima Sultan Al Kuwari said in a statement.

The company did not state how many of its customers had been affected or what losses had been incurred. However, Ooredoo added that it was working with local authorities to track down the perpetrators as well as supporting several measures to help prevent its customers from being victimized.

Previous scams

This is not the first time that a local telecom company has issued an alert about its customers being targeted by fraudsters.

Last summer, both Ooredoo and Vodafone warned of an increasingly common “one-ring” scam, in which customers received a missed call from an unknown international number.

If they called the number – often originating from Latvia, Senegal or Belarus – back, ictQatar said residents risked being charged massive long-distance fees and unknowingly surrendering access to personal bank accounts, statements, photographs, contacts and everything else registered on the user’s mobile phone.

However, some observers cast doubt on the suggestion that simply calling a phone number back won’t expose a mobile user to this type of fraud.

What to do

For illustrative purposes only.
For illustrative purposes only.

Anyone who receives a dubious call from someone claiming to be from Ooredoo or another company is asked to report the number to Ooredoo via its Facebook page, Twitter account or website.

Additionally, mobile customers can avoid receiving unwanted SMS messages numbers using the “Block List” feature in the latest version of the Ooredoo app, which is available for free via Google Play or the iTunes Store.

Other free apps, such as Truecaller – which provides caller ID and blocking features – are also available available for Android devices and iPhones.

Residents are also advised to avoid answering calls or responding to text messages from international and local numbers that they do not recognize.

Last year, the Supreme Council of Information and Technology (ictQatar) released a video to help users protect themselves against phone scammers.

It also offered several guidelines:

  • Don’t display or give your mobile number to retailers, restaurants or websites;
  • Don’t provide your mobile number when you participate in surveys or filling out random questionnaires;
  • Ask questions if you have any doubts or don’t understand why a company needs to have your mobile number when you buy a service or product; and
  • Check incoming spam messages to see if there is an option to stop receiving future messages through an opt-out procedure.

Thoughts?

11 COMMENTS

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agenius
agenius
6 years ago

Bad grammar here: “However, some observers cast doubt on the suggestion that simply calling a phone number back won’t expose a mobile user to this type of fraud.”

I think you mean “However, some observers cast doubt on the suggestion that simply calling a phone number back would expose a mobile user to this type of fraud”, because otherwise you’re (presumably inadvertently) casting doubt on those who cast such doubts…

Ramy
Ramy
6 years ago

Hey, maybe if they didn’t send “your number has been selected for a draw” texts we would have a better idea what’s a scam and what isn’t.

Rayya
Rayya
6 years ago
Reply to  Ramy

I agree … and once you reply to anything like that to Ooredoo it’s virtually impossible unsubscribe from it. For example the recent ‘Win a BMW competition’!

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago

If you really have to be told to not give your info out like that you deserve to be parted with your (hard earned?) money. You think it wouldn’t be really that hard to be smart, but so many people fall for the “you win a prize” deal it’s sad.

alijsyed
alijsyed
6 years ago

I received a call some time back telling me that I won some prize money….. I told him I already collected the money yesterday from there main office in Al Sadd ! Enough said.

greg
greg
6 years ago

92828
Keeping receiving sms about tweeter updates from them, even sent to stop it but it wont

Chipper fluffypants
Chipper fluffypants
6 years ago

I have tried for over a year to stop unwanted text spams from stores (most I have never shopped at). I’ve done everything Ooredoo has told me to do, yet they still come. Now they told me to visit every store and tell the manager to take me off their list. Seriously? Is Ooredoo selling numbers to stores? How else could these stores have gotten my number?

DJ25Q
DJ25Q
6 years ago

It is very annoying, and I don’t know on what basis our phone numbers are passed to retailers. On the other hand, and assuming you got a smartphone, use OOREDOO application to block any annoying SMS. It is also annoying that you need to block each number after receiving SMS, but it worked for me.

CeePeeEm
CeePeeEm
6 years ago

It is due to people’s GREED that one lands up in such traps. Just remember that you can’t be a winner of a competition or a draw if you have not participated in one.

fabseb
fabseb
6 years ago

One reason why these attempted scams are believed by some, is that Ooredoo keeps pestering its customers via spam messages of type “Enter a context, win a Lexus, just QR5, etc.”; so, that these scam messages should come from Ooredoo is pretty credible. By warning its customers against these tricks, Ooredoo is just crying wolf.

Guest
Guest
6 years ago

Ooredoo itself is a scam.

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