Increasing scam attempts victimizing Qatari residents

Qatar recorded an 88 percent surge in phishing attacks during the first quarter of 2023
Increasing scam attempts victimizing Qatari residents
Cyber scams increasing in Qatar

Qatari residents are being subjected to an increase in scam phone calls claiming to offer investment opportunities with Qatar Central Bank. The calls are threatening to close victims’ bank accounts on failure to provide their personal information. In many cases, the scammers are already aware of the victim’s personal data. 

A victim of the scam commented: “The issue is that these scammers were constantly calling from different numbers, so there was no way to block them and there was no way to report it because they were always calling from a different number which made it very difficult to get on top of the situation.”

Cyber scams come in the form of text messages and emails as well. Furthermore, scammers may present themselves as DHL, a worldwide shipping leader, using text messages to coerce individuals into paying extra shipping fees. This adds to the swiftly escalating global problem of phishing and deceitful scams.

Countries in Africa and the Middle East, including Turkey, have seen a rise in cybercrimes. Qatar alone has recorded an alarming 88 percent surge in phishing scams during the first quarter of 2023, in comparison to the corresponding period in the prior year.

Cyber regulations 

Citizens of Qatar are calling on authorities to implement safety measures and put restrictions in place against cyber threats. Qatari law encompasses cybercrimes, including unauthorized system access, fraud, identity theft, and content-related offenses like spam. Recent years have seen heightened efforts by authorities to combat this issue, particularly after the hacking of Qatar News Agency.

Read more: Dubai court convicts 30-member gang, 7 companies in AED32 mn online scam

Just last month, eight individuals were arrested for running a scam that promised citizens with financial gains. Their operations, which garnered over QAR 190,000 in cash, were running through social media platforms. 

Qatar is also home to a Cyber Security Center responsible for identifying and investigating cybercrimes. This center compiles reports on Qatar’s digital landscape and has introduced the Security Shield initiative to monitor electronic attacks.

In 2021, the National Cyber Security Agency was established. This agency was created to consolidate efforts and strategies aimed at safeguarding the nation’s cyberspace and ensuring its overall cyber security.

Safety measures

Cyber experts stress the importance of caution when encountering links in emails or text messages. Moreover, they emphasize the necessity of equipping internet-connected devices with security solutions and conducting regular awareness training for employees to keep them updated about the latest cyber risks.

When arranging vacations, experts recommend using trusted travel booking platforms, airlines, and hotel websites. They also suggest employing dedicated virtual cards with preset spending limits for added security during online transactions. In terms of deliveries, internet-users are advised to rely exclusively on official websites for tracking parcels. This approach acts as a safeguard, ensuring that in case of a breach, a user’s main bank funds or savings remain untouched.

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