Romance Scam Romance

The Cyber Security Authority has cautioned the public against engaging in activities that exposes them to romance scams. The Authority in a statement dated June 12, 2023, advised the public to avoid sending money or providing financial assistance to someone they only met online. It also urged the citizenry to avoid sharing personal details such as full name, address or financial information with someone they have only met online.

“Be wary of individuals who quickly express strong emotional interest or attachment or make ambitious promises. Avoid sharing your nude pictures or compromising images. Use reverse internet image search services like https//images.google.com and https//tineye.com to ascertain it the person’s profile picture (s) appear elsewhere online”, the Authority further advised.

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How the scammers operate?

According to the Authority, the scammers create attractive and convincing profiles on dating sites or social media platforms using impersonated information. Secondly, they conduct extensive research on their potential victims based on the targets’ online habits such as social media posts, before engaging them.

The Authority further stated that the scammers’ then exploit the vulnerabilities of their targets, such as loneliness, insecurity, or previous traumatic experience to build an emotional connection with them.

“They use flattery, alluring compliments and affectionate messages to gain their target’s love, affection, and trust. Once trust has been established, the scammers ask for money using various excuses such as medical expenses, business transactions, and travel costs to exploit the victims’ desire to help”, it added.

The Authority has therefore advised the general public to be mindful of the activities of cyber scammers in the name of romance.

Below is a copy of the full statement

Background

A romance scam is a type of online fraud or scam where fraudsters create fake identities, usually on dating sites, social media, or unsolicited emails to establish intimate relationships with their targets. The scammers then exploit the victims’ trust to extort something valuable such as money, property, or investments.

2.0. Modus Operandi

  • The scammers create attractive and convincing profiles on dating sites or social media platforms using impersonated information.
  • They conduct extensive research on their potential victims based on the targets’ online habits such as social media posts, before engaging them.
  • The malicious actors then exploit the vulnerabilities of their targets, such as loneliness, insecurity, or previous traumatic experiences to build an emotional connection with them. They use flattery, alluring compliments, and affectionate messages to gain their targets love, affection, and trust.
  • Once trust has been established, the scammers ask for money using various excuses such as medical expenses, business transactions, and travel costs to exploit the victim’s desire to help.
  • They often avoid physical meetups, but some perpetrators may meet the eventual victims depending on how they intend to exploit the victim. For example: to facilitate a significant payment or take a valuable item like a vehicle. These actors may fake an emergency to justify their inability to fulfil requests for physical meetings or video calls.
  • When victims attempt to back out of the relationship, the malicious actors may escalate the scheme into blackmail or sextortion (esp. in cases where they have the nudes of the victim).

3.0. Recommendations

  • Never send money or provide financial assistance to someone you have only met online.
  • Be wary of individuals who quickly express strong emotional interest/attachment or make ambitious promises.
  • Avoid sharing personal details with someone you have only met online, such as your full name, address, or financial information.
  • Avoid sharing your nude pictures or compromising images.
  • Use reverse Internet image search services like (https://images.google.com/ ,and httos://tineye.com/ ) to ascertain if the person’s profile picture(s) appear elsewhere online.

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.

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Benjamin Mensah

By Benjamin Mensah

Benjamin Mensah [Freshhope] is a young man, very passionate about the youth of this Generation. Very friendly, reliable and very passionate about the things of God and all that I do. The mission is to inform, educate and entertain. Feel free to send your whatsapp messages to +233266550849 and call on +233242645676

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