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Circumventing the deceitfulness of cyber scams 

By Maxine Danso

Daniel Olugola was a father in need. A father, who was trying to solicit financial help from social media to help pay for the many surgeries and treatment for his daughter who was diagnosed with a sinonasal tumor. Yet, Olugola became the victim of online scammers who took advantage of his situation and diverted the funds into their personal accounts–an unfortunate situation of money that could have otherwise been sent to him to pay for his daughter’s treatments never reaching him. 

His daughter died some months later. 

Not all victims of online scams may be in situations like Mr. Olugola’s. In more recurring situations, money is not denied to you, it is rather extorted from you. 

Besides the unfortunate incident of Daniel Olugola that Dubawa reported on, we have had to equally report on different manifestations of scams such as scholarship application links surfacing across social media platforms of West African countries Dubawa has a presence in (Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, and Liberia). These scholarships are purported to be from reputable institutions, including the Commonwealth seen on both Ghana and Nigeria social media platforms; the University of Oslo and Abu Dhabi University seen on Nigeria’s social media platforms, and the University of Western Australia seen on Liberia social media platforms – all within the same period of time.

Another kind of scams Dubawa has had to report on are mass-market scams purporting to be from telecommunication group, MTN (here and here), the World Health Organisation, online stores such as Melcom (here and here) and Jumia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and food and beverage companies such as Nestle and Coca-Cola (surfacing in both Ghana and Liberia social media platforms).

Most of these sites were dishonestly offering what they would never deliver, in return for people’s personal data, passwords, and ultimately, money. 

Falling prey…

Sometimes these scams are so glaringly deceptive that you wonder why people fall victim. It is for such concerns, that an American-based neuropsychology professor, Stacy Woods, together with some colleagues, conducted research to understand this phenomenon. The research article, which was featured on the BBC, showed some common stratagems observed to be used by scammers that made some people easy pickings for them. In addition, Dubawa noticed a similar trend with scams in countries where it operates, which have been reported on… Click here to continue reading

Recent fact-checks 

In his capacity as the chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority, the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo went to Guinea on 17 September 2021 to have ECOWAS-delegated discussions with Guinea’s military leadership led by Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya which included the immediate release of President Alpha Conde and for elections to be held within six months. 

Following this event, a Facebook user, Evangelist Adda Emmanuel, on 19 September 2021, announced in what he claims to be breaking news that Akufo-Addo has ordered for the immediate arrest of military men in Guinea because they attempted to assassinate him.  But this is false, as Akufo-Addo has neither reported on the arrest of military men in Guinea nor did military men in Guinea attempt to assassinate him on any occasion.  

Several images and videos have gone viral on social media, suggesting that the Sunyani Municipal Hospital’s Maternity Block, which was commissioned by President Akufo-Addo in August 2021 was still under construction and that the project was started by Lordina Mahama, wife of ex-president, John Mahama. Both claims were, however, found to be false. The maternity block had been completed by the time it was commissioned by the President Akufo-Addo on 11 August 2021 though the project was commenced by the Sunyani Municipal Assembly and financed by the District Assembly Common’s Fund.

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