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Indians warned over phone spoofing after ‘embassy calls’

Bahrain News
Wed, 14 Feb 2018
Raji Unnikrishnan


INDIANS living in Bahrain have been warned of telephone spoofing following reports of fraudsters impersonating diplomats.

Sources told the GDN that local authorities have been notified after the Indian Embassy received several complaints, one of which has proven to be genuine.

They explained that a number of middle and high income Indians working in Bahrain received calls from what appeared to be the embassy number, asking to pay outstanding fees.

“The embassy received one case of spoofing, where the caller said the number was identified as that of the Indian Embassy,” said one source.

“The caller said the receiver had some penalties to be paid to the embassy.

“The mission was alerted of many other complaints related to such calls.”

The embassy has also issued an alert urging its nationals to contact authorities if they have fallen victim to the scam.

“The Embassy of India would like to advise members of the Indian community to remain vigilant about fraudsters duping Indian nationals residing abroad by impersonating as officials of Indian Missions and Posts, by spoofing the numbers of the diplomatic facilities,” said the alert.

The GDN reported on Monday on phone hackers using new technology to raid people’s personal accounts while talking to them on their mobile.

Well-placed sources said at the time that people’s WhatsApp and Facebook accounts were being hacked with hi-tech equipment after they answered calls from strange numbers.

“It looks like a group is involved in these activities like hacking and spoofing,” said an Indian national, who received one such call.

“Last month I received a call on Viber and the caller was displayed on my phone as that of a journalist in Bahrain, who is in my contact list.

“When I answered the call, it was a recorded message, supposedly from the journalist, that I received a free gift from Bahrain Duty Free, asking me to pay a fee.

“I enquired to learn that the journalist was not in Bahrain anymore and it was someone using the number.”

Earlier this month Bahrain Duty Free issued a public notice about fraudulent calls and messages being received by its customers, claiming they had won a “substantial prize”.

The call or message asked recipients to pay a fee to claim their supposed reward.