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Explaining bulk messaging and EOCO’s caution against engaging third parties in loan acquisition

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A section of Ghanaians on social media received a message from the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), cautioning them against engaging third parties in loan acquisition.

The message which was sent by telecommunications companies to subscribers read:

“EOCO wishes to caution all salaried-workers to desist from involving 3rd parties in the acquisition of loans. Anyone who transacts business with such persons does so at their own risk. Thank you.”

Persons who have received this message seem to be wondering how EOCO managed to get their contact numbers. This question kept running through  a number of comment sections. Similarly, the question of who a third party is, was raised. 

We answer these questions in this report.

How are companies and organizations able to send messages to telcos subscribers?

Mass texting is one of the means employed by enterprise firms, member-based organizations, and media companies to deliver time-sensitive alerts and notifications to their subscribers.

Currently, there are companies in Ghana whose sole mandate is to send bulk public campaign messages to clients. These companies work with mobile operators. Telecommunication companies like MTN Ghana also have a platform for bulk messages.

By contacting these bulk messaging  companies, many organizations and financial firms are able to reach out to subscribers of telecommunication companies.

The reason behind companies contacting clients and subscribers through bulk messaging is to increase client or customer engagement. It is also a direct channel of communication as receivers are able to read such messages instantly. 

Who is a third party in loan acquisition?

A third party, according to the Oxford languages, is a person or group besides the two primarily involved in a situation, especially a dispute.

However in business, a third party is an individual or entity that is involved in a transaction but is not one of the principals and, thus, has a lesser interest in the transaction.

EOCO’s response

On August 16, 2021, the Office of the Executive Director issued a statement which was signed on his behalf by the head of Public Affairs, Madam Faustina Lartey, warning the general public of loan scams.

A copy of the letter which was shared on their official Facebook page reads:

“SCAM ALERT -BEWARE OF LOAN SCAMS

Scammers are targeting salaried workers and attempting to take advantage of people who may be struggling financially.”

There were other media publications to help in reaching out to the public.

According to Mr Lukas Kwadjo, an officer in charge of the public education unit at the EOCO Headoffice in Accra, their outfit received a series of complaints about a viral message asking salaried workers to acquire loans which will later be deducted from their salaries through the Controller and Accountant General’s Department.

“After receiving the complaints, we conducted investigations and realized it was a scam and so had to immediately caution the general public, especially salaried workers whose salary passes through the Accountant General’s Department. So yes, the messages you received on your phones came from our office. EOCO also has a WhatsApp line, and we encourage the public to reach us with information regarding fraud and scam for investigations,” Mr Lukas added. 

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