CSA warns of surge in online shopping scams and malware attacks

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The Cyber Security Authority (CSA) has warned online shoppers to beware of shopping scams and malware attacks as they look for goods in Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions marking the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

Many retailers in Ghana are running one promotion or the other to drive sales.

The Authority, however, warns that with the increasing availability of digital shopping channels, shopping scams are also expected to surge.

A statement from the CSA said malicious actors create online profiles to promote and sell non-existent goods at very affordable prices.

“They ask potential buyers to make upfront payments to mobile money wallets with names not related to the shop or even the seller.”

“After receiving payment, they don’t deliver the goods and they subsequently block the buyer from communicating with them.”

The Authority indicated that phishing by fake websites and apps has also gone and warned the public to be mindful of the sites they use for their shopping.

Phishing is a tactic that malicious actors use to deceive people into disclosing their personal information e.g. debit/credit card number or account password by getting them to click on malicious links cloaked in official-looking emails, attachments, and logos that lead to impersonated websites of popular brands like Amazon or Alibaba.

The CSA outlined the following recommendations to protect shoppers.
• Be on the lookout for fake online shops and hyped adverts, especially on Facebook, Instagram, and Telegram.
• Do due diligence on any shopping site before purchasing items online.
• As much as possible only shop from reputable and well-known online stores and stay away from websites you have never heard about.
• Do payments on delivery rather than making payments with the assurance that the goods purchased will be delivered.
• Be cautious of proposals and deals including those shared by email, that seem too good to be true no matter how appealing they appear.

The CSA has a 24-hour Cybersecurity/Cybercrime Incident Reporting Points of Contact (PoC) for reporting cybercrimes and for seeking clarification and guidance on online links and transactions; Call or Text – 292, WhatsApp – 0501603111, Email – report@csa.gov.gh

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