*** ----> Fake LMRA social media account target Bahrain population | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Fake LMRA social media account target Bahrain population

TDT | Manama                                                      

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Report by Zahra Ayaz

Online users in Bahrain are reportedly being scammed by a fake Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) page on Facebook that collects personal information by offering services such as renewal of CPR, driving licence, and visa.

Several cautious users have already reported the page to Facebook, but no action has been taken to date, prompting them to raise the issue in various other social media forums to raise awareness about the issue.

A Reddit user recently shared a post exposing the fake LMRA page on Facebook that was disseminating false information about Bahrain’s free online CPR renewal, driving licence renewal, and visa renewal.

The misleading message encouraged users to download the purportedly free LMRA app, claiming that it would facilitate a three-year visa renewal without any payment. It further promised to verify CPR details through the app.

The Daily Tribune reached out to the Reddit user who first brought attention to this scam. She expressed her concern, stating, “I came across this ad while browsing through Facebook stories, and I wondered if there was a way to report it to the government.”

“I reported it initially as fraud and a scam, but the page was still live. So, I tried reporting it under ‘pretending to be something’ and selected the ‘business’ option while reporting the official LMRA page.

Unfortunately, I haven’t received any response yet,” she added.

Awareness Critical

Ahmed Saleh Al Balooshi, CEO of Fintech IT Consultations and a certified expert in Industry 4.0 Technologies, shared his insights with The Daily Tribune on what can be done in such a situation.

The expert emphasised the importance of raising awareness through community forums and social media groups when online platforms fail to take prompt action.

By sharing screenshots and experiences, individuals can alert others and create a collective defence against such scams, he said.

Al Balooshi also suggested reaching out to local law enforcement and cybersecurity agencies to exert pressure on platforms to take immediate action against such fraudulent activities.

He further highlighted several red flags associated with such Facebook ads, including unsolicited contact, a sense of urgency, requests for personal or sensitive data, grammatical errors, and offers that seem too good to be true.

“Users are advised to scrutinise the legitimacy of pages, as genuine entities like LMRA possess verified profiles, a substantial following, and a consistent record of professional communication,” the expert said.

Preventive measures

Al Balooshi proposed that Facebook should implement preventive measures such as robust AI systems capable of identifying and blocking scam ads, stringent verification processes for pages claiming to be from the government, and a dedicated team to respond swiftly to reports of scams, especially those claiming to be related to the government.

He also suggested establishing a transparent report-feedback system to empower users by providing them with information on the outcomes of their reports.

Bahraini organisations could leverage AI technology to enhance the content of their applications and improve user protection, he added.

Lastly, Al Balooshi stressed the importance of fostering collaborative partnerships between cybersecurity institutions and social media platforms.

“This alliance would facilitate the exchange of threat intelligence, the creation of educational materials, and the implementation of instant alert protocols to minimise the risks associated with online scams.

Engaging certified cybersecurity experts who specialise in safeguarding online environments is also crucial for both public and private organisations,” he stated.

As Bahrain continues to navigate the digital landscape, combating scams and protecting online users should remain a top priority for all stakeholders involved.


Ahmed Saleh Al Balooshi