Qtel warns of mobile spam dangers

Operator warns customers of growing volume of voice and text spam messages and mobile scams

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By  Mark Sutton Published  February 10, 2009

Qtel is warning its customers to be aware of the dangers of unsolicited spam text and phone messages.

The operator says that is has seen a growing number of attempts from illegitimate operators to harvest mobile phone numbers of subscribers, and is also receiving more and more complaints about nuisance messages and scams.

In particular, Qtel says that it has recorded a number of instances of a scam whereby a user receives a voicemail or text message informing them they have won a prize, and telling them to dial a short code - usually two digits, followed by # or *, then a full phone number to claim the prize.

Contests in Qatar are not licensed to contact participants in this manner, and the replpy typical goes to a long distance operator, while the two digit code allows the initiator to place calls that are billed to the customer’s phone.

Adel Al Mutawa, executive director of Group Communications, Qtel said: “Customers should look to safeguard their mobile phone numbers and only share it with companies they specifically want to receive information from. In particular, people should never disclose financial details or credit card numbers that are requested by SMS or voicemail services. Legitimate companies will not behave in this way.”

The operator advises customers to protect their mobile numbers and not give out details to any organization, or to give business cards to raffles and so on, unless they want to be contacted by that organization, and also not to give details to callers from unknown numbers. Sending messages to network shortcodes should also be avoid unless the user knows which organization is requesting them.

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