With scam attacks on the rise, it’s essential to protect yourself from fraudsters.
A Qatar University student who ordered a pizza worth QR 31 was shocked to see that his bank account balance was reduced by QR 6,000 instead.
The student received an SMS after making the order on what turned out to be a fake website. Enquiries with his bank revealed the money was actually withdrawn in Russia.
“I was shown a bill of QR31 and was devastated when I received an SMS that QR6,000 has been withdrawn from my account. I earned this money through a part-time job,” the student told local news outlet The Doha Globe.
The incident comes amid a rising trend in scam attempts and phishing attacks in Qatar.
More than 88 percent of Qatar’s population is able to access the internet, making it one of the most connected countries in the Middle East.
This, along with the Gulf state’s wealth and political stances, has made it a prime target for cyber criminals in recent years, security experts believe.
How to protect yourself
Cybercrime is illegal and punishable by law in Qatar, specifically Qatari Law №14 that concerns offences committed using ‘an information network, an information system, a website, or any information technology’ (Article 45).
Since it’s better to be safe than sorry, Kaspersky’s security experts advise the following:
- Only install mobile applications from official app stores, such as Google Play on Android devices or the App Store on iOS.
- Block the installation of programmes from unknown sources in your smartphone’s settings.
- Do not bypass device restrictions, as this might provide cybercriminals with limitless capabilities to carry out their attacks.
- Install system and application updates as soon as they’re available – they patch vulnerabilities and keep devices protected.
- Never download mobile OS system updates from external sources (unless you’re participating in official beta-testing). These should only be installed through official app stores.
- Use reliable security products for comprehensive protection from a wide range of threats, and update your security products regularly.
To report cybercrimes in Qatar, contact the Cyber Crime Investigation Centre by phone on 2347444 or email at [email protected].