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WhatsApp, IMO users in Kuwait targeted
KUWAIT CITY, Nov 2: There is an increase in the level of electronic fraud in Kuwait and the Gulf countries in general, which is exacerbated by lapses committed by targeted users through chat programs, social networking sites, messages, and even electronic games and fake pages, in light of technical difficulty in proving the crime, reports Al-Qabas daily. Sophisticated methods of fraud have spread, the latest of which is falsification of logos of companies or stores to entrap customers in the purchase, payment and money transfer window, without the real presence of products or the delivery component, targeting many people who depend on e-shopping and direct purchase through smart applications or websites.
The corridors of the Public Prosecution witness at least 350 cases of electronic fraud filed by individuals who have been misled by calls made using Kuwaiti phone numbers via communication applications “WhatsApp” or “IMO” or by sending links via text messages, or using logos or names of government agencies. Head of the Kuwait Society for Information Security Dr. Safa’a Zaman revealed that Kuwait ranks fourth in the list of fraud cases registered in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, and its residents are among the most likely victims of electronic fraud.
Zaman explained that a recent study titled “The Role of Financial Institutions in Reducing Information Crimes” prepared at the beginning of this year by the Naif Arab University for Security Sciences in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in coordination with the international criminal agency “Interpol” showed the presence of five types of financial fraud crimes that are considered the most common in the Arab world, and the use of 24 criminal methods to reach the victims.
The study analyzed 503 fraudulent ads, topped by four methods in the areas of “investments, business email, romantic text message fraud, and the method of sexual extortion.” Regarding the fraud methods that were monitored at the local level, Zaman revealed that they are “diverse and evolved, with the development of the technical era, and increased with the popularity and spread of social networking programs, based on the richness of these programs with data and personal information, which facilitated infiltration operations in general, and fraud in particular.” Zaman said, “One of the most important requirements for financial fraud is the presence of adequate data and information about the victim, which is provided by social networking programs. Unfortunately, users do not realize the importance of the data and information placed in these programs and their uses that may expose them to theft and extortion through the use of social engineering.
There is a new method that has spread recently, in which the fraudster convinces the victim to download an application that enables him to control his device remotely. When the victim downloads the application, the fraudster gains full control of his device and then transfers money and steals files and data without hindrance or approval from the victim.” Zaman revealed a set of tips for individuals so that they can make optimal use of the current technological tools of the virtual world and avoid falling into scams. She said, “Do not trust links or social networking accounts. Make sure no one tries to give you money easily and without hustle. Do not place sensitive data on the phone. Use a prepaid card to complete electronic purchases. Do not share credit data with anyone even if the merchant or representative asks you. Do not enter your personal data into public devices or connect to unreliable networks.”