24 Jan 2018 – 16:19

Police busts fake prize network; 16 people arrested for electronic fraud

Photos by Ministry of Interior

By The Peninsula Online

Doha: Security services have arrested 16 people for duping people and committing electronic fraud.

The fraudsters, from Asian countries, would call unsuspecting victims and tell them that they have won fake prizes and will obtain their mobile and bank details. Then they use this information to transfer money from the victim’s account to their accounts.

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The security services seized large sum of money from the fraudsters, which they fleeced from a number of victims. They were arrested in coordination with Qatar Central Bank and a number of local banks and telecommunications companies operating in the country.

Brigadier General Jamal Mohammed Al Kaabi, director of the Criminal Investigation Department, said that the department received information that anonymous people have cheated the customers of local telecommunications companies by telling them that they have won prizes amounting to QR 200,000 from the telecom company.

The caller claims that he is from the telecom firm and asks the customer to verify the mobile sim card serial number. Once it is verified, he congratulates the victim and asks him to provide personal identifications for receiving the prize.

This method, known as social engineering, uses deception to manipulate individuals into divulging confidential or personal information that may be used for fraudulent purposes.

The fraudsters use the information provided by the victims to deduct fund from his account by resetting the login information to his bank account in mobile banking app.

“As soon we received the complaints, necessary investigation procedures were started by coordinating with local banks and also Qatar Central Bank. The suspicious money transfers were analyzed and a number of people of Asian nationalities were arrested for fraudulent withdrawals from the accounts of victims,” Al Kaabi said.

For his part, the head of the Department of Economic and Electronic Crimes Department, Saeed Al-Qahtani, confirmed that the suspects were managing all this fraud from one apartment. They were using this place to contact the victims.

The investigation teams were able to arrest all the members of the criminal network. Some were caught while withdrawing money from the victims’ accounts and others from their residence.

The search of their apartment resulted in the seizure of documents, receipts of financial transfers and a large number of mobile phones that were purchased with the proceeds of the crime and some of the mobiles were used in fraud.

During the inspection, a container with freshly burned papers was found, indicating the gang’s keenness to destroy evidence.

He said that the investigation and analysis of the seized evidence show that the criminal network is managed by a person outside the country, sending criminals and managing their movements in the country. The necessary legal measures have been taken against the accused and referred to the competent authorities.

Captain Mdawi Al Qahtani pointed out that the Department of Criminal Investigation had held meetings with a number of local banks under the supervision of the Qatar Central Bank, where measures were taken to limit the damages.

The banks also sent awareness messages to the public and customers telling them about these fraudulent methods used by criminals.

Citizens and residents should be careful about phone calls asking for personal information and be careful about emails and links receiving in social media and chat apps. Many such links received through social media will open in fake sites and will grab the data and information. Before opening a link check the source of the email and no bank will ask you login or password over the phone or email.

He pointed out that criminals target their victims on the basis of their information published on the Internet and so it is recommended that care be taken while sharing personal information online and be careful not to share any confidential information with anyone.