The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has warned citizens and residents against falling for scams and fraud crimes committed through the internet and called on people to protect themselves by not responding to any middlemen who offer to pay irregularities on Hukoomi website for less than the value of the violation, or to buy discounted tickets.

The ministry has explained that fraudulent individuals use various means to entrap their prey through fake or stolen credit cards, thus exposing people dealing with them to fraud and legal accountability. The ministry urged people to inform security authorities immediately by calling 234 7444, 6681 5757 (hotline) or by sending an email to the Cyber Crime Investigation Centre at [email protected].

According to the Head of the Economic Crimes at the Criminal Investigation Department, Ali Hassan Al Kubaisi, a number of electronic crimes have appeared on the scene recently, including fraud crimes which are committed illegally through the e-government website. In such incidents, a citizen or a resident contacts people through forums or social networking programmes whether inside the country or abroad and those people offer to deliver services such as payment of offenses charged against the person at the government or various services departments in exchange of half the value, thus tempting the citizen or the resident. The fraudster pays the value of the violation via the e-government by using stolen or forged credit cards and when the citizen or the resident inquires at the site of e-government it becomes clear that the violation has already been paid, so he sends the agreed amount to the fraudulent person, but when the electronic collection is made, it becomes evident that the credit card used in the payment is either stolen or forged, and thus the system rejects the payment and returns the offense again to the citizen or resident.

As quoted by Qatar News Agency (QNA), Al Kubaisi said:

The department has received a number of complaints from people who have fallen prey to similar fraud and this does not relieve them of legal accountability because they are partners in committing the crime. How can a citizen or a resident accept somehow to pay half the value of the violation registered against him to a government agency.’

Al Kubaisi inquired, stressing that such an act is contrary to the law and both the accused and the prey shall be referred to the public prosecutor.

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MoI announces 10 safety tips not to get victimised by online fraud:

  1. Use a strong password (a combination of upper and lower case letters, symbols and numbers) and change it regularly for your online accounts.
  2. Make sure that website used HTTPS protocol (check the address bar for https instead of http) before making online payments.
  3. In case banks provide additional security features for online payments, make use of it.
  4. Don’t keep your bank related information in your mobile phone, net connected PC and better keep in external storage.
  5. In case you lost your bank card, immediately report to the bank.
  6. Don’t’ respond to scam messages that offers winning lottery, or requesting your help for transferring wealth from one country to another country.
  7. Don’t deal with any middlemen that offers settling government fines for lesser amount, or discounted air tickets via unknown online agencies, as these fraudsters use forged or fake credit cards for paying the amount and you will trapped to see that payment didn’t go through later.
  8. Monitor your bank and credit card accounts frequently to ensure that no any fraud transactions is happening in your account.
  9. Never respond to phishing emails that may request you to click on a link that takes you to a fraudulent site or pop-up window where you are asked to submit personal and financial information.
  10. Report cyber-crimes to [email protected] or call at 234 7444 or the hotline – 6681 5757