DOHA: To combat soaring cybercrimes and online frauds, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) yesterday warned people to remain extra vigilant.
People should not fall prey to scams and frauds and protect themselves by not responding to any middlemen or unscrupulous people offering to settle fines against violations by paying half or less than the amount or discounted air tickets via unknown online agencies, the ministry said in a statement.
It also warned that victims of such frauds will also be subjected to legal procedures because of being partners in crimes.
Fraudsters make use of multiple modus operandi to entrap their victims such as by using forged (cloned) or stolen credit cards.
They approach their victims to pay fines on their behalf through Hukoomi website.
Once the fine is paid through a stolen or cloned credit or ATM card, the victim is asked to check the latest status on the website of the government agency to make sure that the payment has been made.
However, the victim, unaware of future consequences, gets entrapped and happily pays the negotiated amount to the criminal, only to realise later that the payment has been declined by the bank because the card used is fake and the fine for the violation still remains to be paid to authorities.
The ministry has called on everyone who comes across such fraudsters or cases to immediately inform the authorities by calling 2347444 or hotline number 66815757. One can also inform the authorities by sending an email to email@example.com.
Major Ali Hassan Al Kubaisi, Head of Economic Crime Section, Criminal Investigation Department, said several electronic crimes had been reported recently.
Citizens or residents contact people through forums or social networking sites in or outside the country offering to provide services such as payment of fines charged by government departments, with half the amount waived.
He said the department had received calls from people who had fallen victim to such frauds, and said this did not relieve them of their legal responsibility.
“How could a person accept to pay half the fine imposed by government agencies?” he asked, adding that it was a violation of law and the person would be referred to the public prosecution.
First Lieutenant Mudawi Saeed Al Qahtani of Cybercrime Combating Centre said most cyber crimes, particularly those related to payment of fines, were committed by people outside the country.
But they have accomplices in the country and they will be arrested, and Interpol’s help will be sought to arrest suspects outside the country, he said.
Another officer at the centre, First Lieutenant Jassim Al Kuwari, urged companies and individuals to take extra precautions while making electronic transactions and using electronic communication, especially, emails, to avoid falling victim of hackers, pirates and cyber criminals.
Colonel Muhammed Ibrahim Al Jufairi, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation Department, urged people not to deal with scammers and middlemen in electronic transactions and not to keep personal files or banking information on Internet systems but to keep them elsewhere.