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NewsCyber Security Authority warns public of Valentine's Day online scams

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Cyber Security Authority warns public of Valentine’s Day online scams

As Valentine’s Day approaches, the Cyber Security Authority (CSA) issues a warning to the public, emphasizing the need for caution in online activities during the romantic festivities.

The Authority revealed that malicious cyber actors exploit the occasion to defraud unsuspecting victims through various schemes.

In a press statement shared with the Ghana News Agency, the CSA disclosed that, in 2023, a staggering GHC 3,558,940.00 was lost to online shopping and romance scams.

“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 materialize,” the statement added.

The perpetrators employ tactics such as creating fake websites, online shops, and social media profiles, enticing victims with heavily discounted packages.

“While search engines provide convenient access to information, they can also display manipulated or misleading results, check on the official websites or with reliable sources to validate the contact details of shops rather than relying solely on search engine results,” it stressed.

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According to the statement, victims are lured into making payments for non-existent or substandard items.

Malicious actors further manipulate Google Maps and search engine results to divert legitimate inquiries to scammer contact numbers.

Once payment is made, victims are often blocked, and the promised deliveries never materialize.

The CSA advises the public to exercise caution when encountering seemingly “too good to be true” deals on Valentine’s Day gifts, urging the use of reputable online marketplaces.

Additionally, individuals are encouraged to check reviews and customer feedback before making online purchases.

“Insist on payment only after delivery and inspection, be wary of unsolicited messages or emails claiming to be from a romantic partner, especially those that make requests for money or other sensitive information.

“Do not share personal information such as your Ghana card number, credit card information, or bank account details with anyone, ensure that mobile money payments are made to wallets in the name of the online shop you are dealing with,” it said.

Highlighting the risk of unsolicited emails or messages, the statement underscores the creation of fake online profiles by scammers to deceive victims into sending money or sharing personal information.

The public is urged to be wary of such messages, especially those requesting money or sensitive data.

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To enhance online safety, the CSA recommends insisting on payment only after delivery and inspection, verifying the legitimacy of businesses, and avoiding sharing personal information.

The statement concludes by informing the public of the CSA’s 24-hour Cybersecurity Incident Reporting Point of Contact for reporting cybercrimes and seeking guidance on online activities.

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