Calls on Ghanaians to be more vigilant of cyber fraudsters



The emergence of social media and electronic transaction services have opened the door for criminal and fraudulent practices in society which are indeed disturbing. Fraudsters have capitalised on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp among others on the internet to dupe innocent and unsuspecting people of their hard-earned money. Every now and then the fraudsters devise several ways of hacking into individual banks and mobile money accounts, sometimes under bizarre circumstances.

With the subtle manner in which they go about their criminal activities, one needs to be more alert and vigilant. One of their common tricks these days is a phone call telling you that an undisclosed amount meant for somebody has wrongfully been sent to your mobile money account. They will then appeal to you to return the said money with threats to get the network provider to block your account if not returned. The way they speak, you may be convinced and will want to check your account only to see that there is nothing like that.

Few minutes later, another call will come from a different person, this time a female voice, posing as an official from the fraud detection office of the said network in Accra, informing you that they had detected that somebody was trying to hack your mobile money account and, therefore needs your assistance to block the person from having access to the account.  If you are not smart, you will begin to follow a process on your phone to enable the supposed mobile telecommunication official to block the person.  The humble demeanor on the phone will make you believe what the voice on the other side of the phone is telling you. The little mistake on your part will see the fraudster deplete your mobile money account completely.

In other instances, you will see on a Facebook wall, photos of familiar faces with their particulars boldly displayed inviting you as a friend. It is done cleverly that you will be obliged because of the clear evidence provided, and that will begin your friendship right away with series of chats.

In such chats, the fraudsters will ask about your residence, job and tell you of juicy employment opportunities in blue-chip organisations. You express interest at your own risk.  They may even come promising to facilitate any process for one to acquire auctioned cars. You need to be worried when such people request your mobile number and other financial account details. That should give signal of a foul play, do not hesitate to stop the chat and quickly block them and report to security agencies. If you take chances, the fraudsters perpetuate the nefarious activities to your surprise especially when they pose as certain prominent and high-level personalities including Ministers of State as a cover-up in their dubious malpractices.

Let us bear in mind that these fraudsters are well over the internet and Ghanaians must be on guard so that they would not fall into their hands easily. It is a fact that the internet and social media has become a perfect tool for the dissemination of information in a faster and sometimes accurate manner. However, the problems associated with their usage can have disastrous results, where fraudsters get the chance to manipulate the system.

We need to be extra careful in the application of the internet and social media to safe guard our lives and property.

By Charles Neequaye, A Journalist.

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