Home » Cyber Security Authority Warns Against Valentine’s Day Scams

Cyber Security Authority Warns Against Valentine’s Day Scams

Public Urged to Stay Vigilant Amid Rising Online Fraud Threats

by Ikeoluwa Juliana Ogungbangbe
Valentine's Day scams

The Cyber Security Authority’s warning comes as part of its ongoing efforts to educate the public about the risks associated with online activities and to combat cybercrime. With Valentine’s Day approaching, cybercriminals are increasingly exploiting the occasion to prey on unsuspecting victims through various deceptive tactics.

According to the Authority’s press release issued on February 7, the prevalence of online shopping and romance scams has led to significant financial losses, with an alarming GH¢3,558,940 reported lost in 2023 alone. This staggering figure underscores the urgent need for individuals to exercise caution and vigilance when engaging in online transactions, particularly during holidays and special events.

One of the most common schemes employed by cybercriminals involves the creation of fake websites, online shops, or social media profiles that offer heavily discounted Valentine’s Day packages and items. These fraudulent platforms are designed to lure unsuspecting victims into making purchases, often with the promise of romantic gifts or experiences. However, once payment is made, victims either receive substandard products or never receive anything at all, resulting in financial loss and disappointment.

Furthermore, the Authority highlighted the prevalence of brand impersonation, wherein scammers create fake business listings or profiles on platforms like Google Maps. By impersonating legitimate businesses, these fraudsters deceive users into engaging with them and making payments for products or services. After receiving payment, the scammers typically block further contact with the victim, leaving them unable to recover their funds or seek recourse.

In addition to brand impersonation, phishing scams represent another significant threat during the Valentine’s Day season. Cybercriminals often send deceptive emails or messages purporting to be from romantic partners or companies offering special deals and promotions. These messages may contain malicious links or attachments that, when clicked, install malware onto the victim’s device or prompt them to divulge sensitive personal information.

Romance scams, where perpetrators create fake online personas to establish false relationships with victims, are also on the rise. These scammers exploit the emotional vulnerability of their victims to manipulate them into sending money or providing financial and personal information.

To protect against these risks, the Cyber Security Authority advises the public to exercise caution and due diligence when engaging in online activities. This includes using reputable online marketplaces and retailers, checking reviews and customer feedback before making purchases, and verifying contact details from official sources.

Additionally, the Authority recommends being wary of unsolicited messages or emails, especially those requesting personal or financial information. Individuals are encouraged to only make payments after receiving and inspecting goods, and to stay informed about common scam tactics to avoid falling victim to fraudulent schemes.

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