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Protecting your mobile phone from Spam and Scam

Receiving spam SMS messages and telephone scams on your mobile phone is annoying and time-consuming. These unwanted messages invade your privacy and can cost you money.

This is a guide to help you protect your mobile phone from spam and scam. It also explains what you can do to stop or reduce the number of messages you receive.

What is mobile spam?

Mobile spam includes unsolicited and unwanted text messages sent to your mobile phone without your request. Most spam comes from advertisers and marketers who are trying to persuade you to buy their products and services. Spam messages are sent out in bulk to thousands of mobile subscribers at a given time. In most cases, these messages are sent without the consent of your telecommunications service provider and do not have an "opt out" option.

For example:

  • You won QR500, 000 - call this number xxx to get your prize.
  • Sale or promotion @ xxx tomorrow!
  • Someone wants to meet you, call this number to "chat", "flirt" and meet new people...

What are mobile scams?

Mobile scams are designed to trick you into using your mobile service to make money for someone else. A common technique is the missed call scam. For example, you may get a call that hangs up so quickly that you can't answer it in time. Your phone registers a missed call from an unknown number. If you reply to these types of calls, you may find yourself signed up for services you don't want and cannot stop. To make matters worse, you could be left with a huge phone bill as these calls are charged at premium rates. Be on the look-out for advance fee scams. These are scams that offer you a large sum of money or a big prize if you pay a fee in advance.

For example:
Recently, mobile subscribers in Doha have been getting calls informing them that they have been randomly selected by Vodafone to win USD 160,000. In order to claim the prize, the caller instructs to transfer an amount of QR 6,000 to a specific bank account in order to finalize travel arrangements needed to claim the prize. Don't fall for it. CRA confirms that this is not a Vodafone offer. Rather, the phone calls are the work of a fraudulent group using the Vodafone name to trick excited consumers into giving away their money.

What is not spam and scam?

  • SMS messages that relate to a service you've requested, such as a message from your bank or from the government.
  • Messages from Ooredoo regarding your bill.

What to do if you receive unwanted spam or scam?

  • Don't reply to spam SMS messages for unfamiliar messages or ones you have not requested.
  • Don't call back unrecognized numbers. If you do, you may be charged at a premium rate.
  • Do contact the company identified in the message directly to verify if offers associated with their company are real.

What can you do to prevent/avoid receiving spam and scam to your wireless device?

  • Don't display or give your mobile number to retailers, restaurants, or websites.
  • Don't provide your mobile number when you participate in surveys or filling out random questionnaires
  • Do ask questions if you have any doubts or don't understand why a company needs to have your mobile number when you buy a service or product.
  • Do check incoming spam messages to see if there is an option to stop receiving future messages through an opt-out procedure.

To share your story and experience with mobile scams or spam or for more information please email us at : consumervoice@cra.gov.qa