Beware of Viber lottery

By A Staff Reporter

 Kathmandu, Nov. 22:If you’re using a mobile and social voice and messaging apps like Viber and WhatsApp, beware, you may be receiving calls from unidentified numbers from inside and outside the country with ill intention.

Such deceptive calls from unidentified numbers on social voice apps have significantly increased in the recent weeks, asking the call receivers for some fees to claim unexpected prize and lottery wins. Others have received threats seeking donations and ransom during election time.

Considering the increased case of scam calls with criminal intention, security agencies and the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) have also increased their monitoring to tackle crimes associated with such calls.

The NTA has also directed the telecommunication service providers not to provide gateway to such scam calls.

Min Prasad Aryal, spokesperson at the NTA, said that it had directed Nepal Telecom (NT), Ncell and other service providers to block calls which lack calling line identification (CLI).

Aryal said that complaints about calls from unidentified numbers such as 8888--, 22222—and 12345 on the mobile have increased.

He said that callers may ask for donations, ransoms or may try to cheat by saying one has won a handsome lottery or a prize.

He said that the number of fraud calls for donation and ransom from unidentified numbers has increased with the elections nearing.

Users of Viber and WhatApps are also getting calls from Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan numbers, telling them that the call receivers had won a lottery or a prize.

Rajendra Shrestha, a user of Viber in Kathmandu, said that he received calls repeatedly from an Indian number saying that he had won a handsome lottery prize and asked him for his bank account number to transfer the lottery amount. “Knowing the bad intention of the caller, I threatened him to stop making such calls,” he said.

The scammer first tries to convince people through calls and messaging that they had won a legal lottery and prize, and later on they are asked for some money to pay government taxes, bank fees or courier charges to send the money.

Besides, telecommunication service providers have also urged their service users not to receive calls from unidentified numbers from Viber and WhatsApp.

Shovan Adhikari, joint-spokesperson of NT, said that they had issued awareness notices to the users regarding the fake calls on Viber and WhatsApp.

“We have also written to Viber to control such fraud calls,” he said.

To control such scam calls, the NTA recently held a discussion with telecommunication service providers and security personnel at the initiative of the Ministry of Information and Communications and Office of the Prime Minister, Aryal said.

 

 

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