The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has urged parents and students to be cautious of scholarship schemes that request payment for processing or verification of documents, saying these are forms of scholarship scams.
“The criminals create a fake scholarship website or scheme and once students with very good grades show interest, they start to ask them for money,” Mrs Faustina Lartey, the Head of Public Affairs, EOCO, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Tema on Friday.
“Sometimes to the point that they will say you need to pay monies for the verification of your certificate, the truth is no genuine scholarship scheme will ask you to pay money before doing those things.”
In view of the recent developments, the Office, in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service, had organised a series of sensitisation programmes for 24 senior high schools in the Volta Region.
The engagements formed part of EOCO’s 2022 education programmes on Prohibited Cyber Activities and related matters, which were rolled out in two phases, engaging more than 35,000 students from the schools to create awareness on the positives and negatives of the internet.
Touching on hacking, Mrs Lartey said it involved criminals entering people’s phones, electronic devices, or databases without their permission to steal sensitive information, which they used as blackmail.
She said advance fees fraud, popularly known as 419, were also rife, where criminals demanded prepayment for “supposed goods” but ended up defrauding the victims.
Another crime, she mentioned, was the examination result fraud, where fraudsters demanded monies to facilitate the change of results, adding that some people fell prey to those fraudsters due to greed.
Mrs Lartey expressed the hope that the sensitisation programmes would enable the students to be abreast of the laws and educate others to prevent them from falling victims.
“Ignorance of the law is no excuse, therefore the need to eschew such activities to avoid being caught up by the laws.”
She advised the students and the public to report perpetrators of cyber-crimes to the EOCO and other law enforcement agencies to crack the whip and make Ghana free of such fraudsters.