ITA warns of WhatsApp money scam

The Information Technology Authority (ITA) said it has received a number of reports about the impersonation of personal bank accounts through WhatsApp.

ITA  has urged the users not to respond to such messages and do not send any verification code or any money if  requested.

It added that the OmanCERT team is now in contact with the affected users to provide technical support and solve the problem.

A leading bank in Oman has urged customers to avoid sharing personal banking details with strangers.

Bank Muscat’s request follows reports of messages received by customers about winning a prize. “Dear customer, congratulations, you are great lucky winner from
Omantel and Ooredoo with the participation of Bank Muscat of RO
5,000 cash prize in a lucky draw. Please contact us on the number 94479752,”
said a message.

Mobile users across Oman have been claiming to have received such messages. “It is difficult to determine whether the messages are genuine or fake. They come with the names of either the telecom operator or the bank in the senders’ column,” said Hemalatha, who was asked to share personal details after she replied to the message. “Irrespective of whether people fall for such messages or not, they are irritating,” said Abdullah al Hashmi.

Ooredoo said recently it was ramping up effortsto raise awareness to prevent customers from being tricked into sending money or allowing access to their bank accounts to fraudulent parties.“The company is calling on everybody to be cautious of scammers trying to lure them with fake prizes or promises of cash.”

Raed Mohammed Dawood, Director of Government Relations and Corporate Affairs, Ooredoo said, “If you receive a call from a strange number or an email asking for your personal information, then it is most likely a scam. Service providers won’t usually call or email you for such information The best thing to do is
go to one of our 50 stores and show them the call or email and have them
authenticate the request and phone number. Do not respond, answer or
click on anything suspicious.

“Scammers are very clever and will alwaystry to trick customers by offering them something that is too good to be true, such as money or prizes. “Always act with caution and be suspicious of such requests. Competitions and prizes by Ooredoo are always announced.