Bank Muscat warns against falling prey to fraudulent messages, calls

July 11, 2019

A WhatsApp message that is circulating among Bank Muscat users stating that their card is blocked because it is not updated is deemed to be fake and a scam. The message goes on to say that if the card needs to work properly, then the user needs to contact the given number immediately.

The bank authorities have asked card holders to totally ignore such messages and report to police the number of which the message comes.

“There is no such SMS that the bank is circulating or have been circulating to people. This is a fraud and we warn everyone to stay away from such a message,” said an official from Bank Muscat.”

Bank Muscat

He added that an easy way to identify a fraud is from the message itself.

“We will never send an official message, update or offer through a normal mobile number through WhatsApp. Every message comes from our official number which ends with 5555 and the name will be written as Bank Muscat. We caution people never ever to state your bank details, PIN number and your National ID number,” he said.

However, there have been some victims recently who fell for the trap.

Hidayat, one such victim, said, “It was a few months back when I made this call to the number given by the SMS saying that I needed to update. Coincidentally the same day, my card got stuck in a machine. I was in a state of panic and gave all my details. A sum of RO4,200 was debited from my account. I reported the case to ROP.”

However, Hidayat was lucky as cyberthieves could withdraw only RO2,200. “The bank was able to halt the transaction and save RO2,000. I will get back RO2,000 but I have to close my bank account at the earliest.

Manish K, an Indian expatiate said, “The person whom I called back was adamant to know my card details. I threatened to report the number to the ROP. Immediately, he disconnected and never called me back.”

The Central Bank of Oman (CBO) has cautioned citizens, residents and businesses to be aware of fraudulent phone calls and text messages.

“This can be partly attributed to the technological development and information boom that is being witnessed across the globe,” stated H E Tahir bin Salim bin Abdullah al Amri, Executive President of CBO, in a foreword in this year’s first issue of CBO’s banking and economic publication Al Markazi.

He added, “We call upon all citizens and residents to take appropriate care and caution in this regard, so that they do not fall prey to any phishing attempts. By being wary of the fictitious calls, tempting text messages or any other method of extortion deployed by the fraudsters, people can ensure safety of their confidential data.”