GH¢3.5m lost through online shopping, romance scams in 2023 – Cyber Security Authority

At least GH¢3,558,940 was lost through online shopping and romance scams out of the total losses recorded in 2023, as reported by the Cyber Security Authority (CSA).

The CSA has therefore reminded the public to exercise caution and due diligence in their online activities.

In a statement regarding Valentine’s Day scams issued on February 7, the CSA stated that malicious actors created fake websites or online shops, and impersonated 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,” it added.

Concerning brand impersonation, the CSA also mentioned that malicious actors created fake business listings or profiles with their contact details on Google Maps, mimicking legitimate businesses or brands, and used search engine optimization techniques to manipulate search results for the targeted brand, diverting legitimate inquiries to the scammers’ 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,” it added.

Regarding phishing scams, the NCA underscored that these malicious actors sent unsolicited emails or messages claiming to be from a romantic partner or a company offering Valentine’s Day deals.

“These messages contain links or attachments that, when clicked, install malicious software (malware), or steal personal information,” it added.

Regarding romance scams, it said these persons created fake online profiles to deceive victims into believing they are engaging in a trusting relationship.

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

Source: Abigail Arthur

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