PUBLIC ALERT: GH¢3.5 million Valentine’s Day scams recorded in 2023

Cyber Security Authority Warns Against Online Frauds Ahead of Valentine's Day

The (CSA) has issued a public alert regarding potential scams targeting individuals during the upcoming Valentine's Day celebrations. With the occasion often prompting increased online activities, malicious cyber actors are exploiting the opportunity to defraud unsuspecting victims through various schemes.

According to the CSA, the total losses recorded for 2023 due to Valentine's Day scams amounted to at least GH¢3,558,940, primarily from online shopping and romance scams. As a result, the CSA urges the public to exercise caution and due diligence in their online interactions.

The CSA outlined several common modus operandi employed by cybercriminals during this period:

  1. Shopping Fraud: Perpetrators create fake websites or online shops, offering heavily discounted packages or items. Victims are lured into making payments for these items but either receive substandard products or nothing at all.
  2. Brand Impersonation: Scammers create fake business listings or profiles on platforms like Google Maps, impersonating legitimate businesses or brands. They manipulate search results to divert inquiries to their contact details, leading victims to make payments for products that are never delivered.
  3. Phishing Scams: Malicious actors send unsolicited emails or messages posing as romantic partners or companies offering Valentine's Day deals. These messages contain links or attachments that install malware or steal personal information when clicked.
  4. Romance Scams: Fraudsters create fake online profiles to deceive victims into believing they are in a genuine relationship. They exploit these relationships to persuade victims to send money, disclose personal and financial information, or purchase items for them.

To safeguard against these scams, the CSA provides the following recommendations:

  • Exercise caution with deals that seem too good to be true.
  • Use reputable online marketplaces and retailers, checking reviews and feedback before making purchases.
  • Verify contact details of businesses from official websites or reliable sources.
  • Be vigilant for fake online shops and hyped advertisements, especially on platforms.
  • Insist on payment only after delivery and inspection.
  • Beware of unsolicited messages or emails requesting money or personal information.
  • Avoid sharing sensitive information such as numbers, credit card details, or bank account information.
  • Ensure payments are made to verified wallets.
  • Utilize the CSA's Cybersecurity/Cybercrime Incident Reporting Point of Contact for assistance and guidance.

The CSA emphasizes the importance of remaining vigilant and encourages the public to report any suspicious activities promptly.

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