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Cyber Security Authority Issues Valentine’s Day Fraud Alert

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The Cyber Security Authority has warned unsuspecting members of the public regarding potential fraud associated with the upcoming Valentine’s Day celebration on February 14.

It cautioned that cybercriminals often exploit the occasion to defraud unsuspecting victims through various schemes, including online shopping and romance scams.

In a press statement released on February 7, the Authority disclosed that GH¢3,558,940 was reported lost in 2023 due to online shopping and romance scams.

It, therefore, urged the public to exercise caution and due diligence in their online activities.

“Malicious actors create fake websites or online shops or impersonate existing businesses on social media, offering heavily discounted packages and items.

“Victims are enticed to send money for these items which they never receive, or they receive in substandard forms.”

Addressing brand impersonation, the Cyber Security Authority emphasised that scammers create fake business listings or profiles with contact details on Google Maps, imitating authentic businesses, stressing that these scammers manipulate search results to divert inquiries to their contact numbers.

“After the unsuspecting victims engage and pay (usually to a mobile money wallet) for products, the scammers block them from making further contact, and the expected delivery does not materialise,” the statement said.

The Authority also warned against phishing scams, where cybercriminals send unsolicited emails or messages claiming to be from a romantic partner or a company offering Valentine’s Day deals, noting that these messages may contain links or attachments that install malicious software or steal personal information when clicked.

Additionally, the Authority raised concerns about romance scams, in which perpetrators create fake online profiles to deceive victims into believing they are in a genuine relationship.

“They use the relationship to persuade the victims to send money, provide personal and financial information, or purchase items for them.”

To safeguard against these threats, the Cyber Security Authority advised the public to use reputable online marketplaces or retailers, check reviews and customer feedback before making online purchases, and verify contact details from official websites or reliable sources.

It also recommended being cautious of fake online shops and exaggerated advertisements, especially on social media platforms and insisted on payment only after delivery and inspection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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