Online Impersonation or Identity Theft occurs when a malicious actor assumes the identity of a prominent personality such as a politician, businessman, government official, diplomat, or a credible brand for financial gain or to harass, intimidate or threaten victims. The CSA has from January to July 2023, received 58 reports with as much as GH¢ 49.5 million being lost by victims
- Impersonators create a fake profile or account that mimics a legitimate personality or brand to deceive unsuspecting victims.
- Associates and business partners of victims may also become targets of the scheme.
- The scammers often use pressure tactics to get victims to act quickly without thinking through.
- Online impersonation may take the form of:
- Job/Recruitment Scam: Scammers pose as government officials/agencies, or employers/recruiters of reputable entities offering job opportunities that require the victims to part with money or provide personal information.
- Advance Fee Fraud: Scammers pose as wealthy businessmen, representatives of a reputable company, a government agency, or long-lost relatives to convince victims to make upfront payments for goods, services, and/or financial gains.
- Investment Scam: Scammers pose as investment service providers, financial advisors, or fund managers and promise victims big payouts with little or no risk.
- Contract Scam: Scammers pose as contract awarding bodies such as a government agency to offer victims non-existent contracts in exchange for a fee.
- Be cautious of unsolicited communications, especially from unknown individuals/sources.
- Be suspicious of any promise of jobs, protocol advantage for recruitment slots, financial gains, gifts, or lucrative opportunities. Genuine government officials will not contact anyone via social media to offer them jobs or contracts.
- Exercise due diligence and conduct extensive background checks to verify the legitimacy of an individual or organisation/institution before engaging in any financial transaction.
- Always report a suspected impersonator/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
August 2, 2023