Ghana heavily exposed to online fraud as country ranks world’s 3rd biggest user of social media
Director-General of the Cyber Security Authority (CSA), Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, has said internet users in the country are heavily exposed to online fraud given the massive use of the internet by citizens.
With country’s huge presence on the internet, particularly on social media, Ghana has been ranked the 3rd biggest user of the various micro-blogging/messaging platforms – Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook and TikTok.
According to the Director General of the CSA, some 17 million Ghanaians (53% of the population) are connected to the internet.
Speaking at the Technology Trends and Awareness Webinar Series themed “Demystifying Online Fraud” on Wednesday, November 23, Dr Antwi-Boasiako noted there are between 200 to 500 reports of online fraud weekly at the Authority.
Of the reports made, 30% form investment fraud schemes, romance fraud schemes; 10% form unauthorized access to accounts; 20% form online blackmail; 5% form online impersonation and 3% form publication of sensual and intimate images.
“Online fraud is real, the criminals are successful only because of the daily actions or inactions of individuals. There is a need of course then, to adopt basic cybersecurity personal safety measures,” added Dr Antwi-Boasiako.
Despite the fraud risks in the digital sector, Dr Antwi-Boasiako noted the digital sector has become the bedrock of any major socio-economic development strategy.
Adding that, African economies such as Ghana, are now driving their development agenda through digitalization.
Revenue from Ghana’s digital economy is projected to hit $905m by the end of 2022 per data made available by Statista.
The African continent’s digital economy is projected to grow to $108 billion by 2025 and expected to grow further to $712 billion by 2050.
In 2016, the digital economy the World Bank notes was worth an estimated $11.5 trillion worldwide, equivalent to 15.5 percent of global GDP.
It is however, forecasted to reach 25 percent in less than a decade, far outpacing the growth of the ‘traditional’ economy.
Meanwhile, the Cyber Security Authority (CSA) has said it expects a significant increase in the number of online shopping scams ahead of the Christmas festivities.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, November 23, the CSA noted the surge in online shopping scams will be due to the “increasing availability” of digital shopping channels.
“Black Friday and Cyber Monday marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season for many households. With the increasing availability of digital shopping channels, the CSA anticipates a surge in the number of shopping scams such as fake online shops and malware attacks,” the CSA stated.
According to the CSA, the modus operandi of fraudsters/scammers during the festive season will include the creation of online profiles to promote and sell non-existent goods at very affordable prices as well as malicious links cloaked in official-looking emails to deceive people into disclosing their personal information such as debit/credit card number or account number.
To avoid falling victim to these online shopping scams, the CSA has however, recommended to the public that, they do due diligence on any shopping site before making purchases online.
As much as possible, the public must only shop from reputable and well-known online stores and stay away from websites that have never been heard of.
The public must also make payments on delivery rather than first making payments with the assurance that the goods purchased will be delivered.