Advance Fee Fraud
Advance fee fraud occurs when fraudsters get victims to make upfront payments for goods, services, and/or financial gains that do not materialise. These schemes may involve the sale of products or services, job offers, investments, lottery winnings, ticket scams, unclaimed money, and delivery of items. The CSA has since 2022 received 38 of such reports, with about GHS 1.4 million lost by victims.
- Initial Contact: Scammers reach out to their targets through unsolicited messages via email, social media, or phone calls.
- Gain Trust: The scammers then invest time and effort to build trust and establish a bond with the target. They may pretend to be wealthy business people, representatives of a reputable company, a government agency, or even long-lost relatives.
- Promise of Rewards: Victims are then enticed with offers such as expensive phones and laptops or promises of substantial financial rewards such as a share in a large inheritance, business venture, or substantial lottery prize.
- Request for Upfront Payment: The scammers or their accomplices will then request the victim to make an upfront payment or provide personal information to facilitate the release of the promised reward. These payments may be disguised as delivery charges, processing fees, legal fees, customs duties, or administrative charges.
- Invoking a Sense of Urgency: Scammers may claim legal consequences or time-limited opportunities to compel the victim into complying with the payment request.
- Recovery Fraud: An accomplice may contact the victim, pretending to be a police officer who has arrested the first scammer and needs the victim to pay for the prosecution of that person.
- Be cautious of unsolicited communications, especially from unknown individuals/sources.
- Never make upfront payments without credible guarantees or assurances. Be suspicious of any promise of financial gains, gifts, or lucrative opportunities.
- Conduct extensive background checks to verify the credentials and legitimacy of individuals or organisations before engaging in any financial transaction.
- Do not share sensitive personal and financial information with someone you have only met online. Threat actors can use such information for identity theft or financial fraud.
- When doing business with people in a foreign country, seek expert advice from a specialist lawyer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and/or Embassy/Consulate of the country you want to do business in.
- Always report a suspected scammer to Law Enforcement Agencies within the country. You can also report to the Cyber Security Authority.
Contact the Cyber Security Authority
The CSA has a 24-hour Cybersecurity/Cybercrime Incident Reporting Points of Contact (PoC) for reporting cybercrimes and for seeking guidance and assistance on online activities, Call or Text – 292, WhatsApp – 0501603111, Email – email@example.com
Issued by Cyber Security Authority
July 4, 2023