The Police are warning mobile phone users against fraudsters using their mobile network to trick people into handing over money.
A text message in circulation promises a 40 million cedis prize in return for 150,000 cedis worth of Areeba phone credit.
Joy FM's Dzifa Bampoe, who has been tailing the new development, says it is the latest in an increasing network of scams to defraud mobile phone users.
“William Turkson gets dozens of text messages every day. But this morning (Thursday) when he heard the familiar beep of an incoming message, he reached for his phone and learned he had just become 40 million cedis richer… at least that's what the message said.”
“CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE WON 40 MILLIONS CEDIS IN THE ONGOING COCA COLA BONANZA. AS OUR CUSTOMER, YOUR TICKET NUMBER IS 2201. CALL OUR OFFICE FOR CLAIMS.”
Turkson thought it was a scam right away. But he decided to call the number anyway and record the conversation. The man on the other end of the line told Turkson that to claim his prize; he first had to pay a registration fee.
The man told him he had to buy two Areeba recharge cards and call him with the numbers. That's when Turkson says he knew for sure it was fraud.
“All that he was interested in was the recharge card. I even asked him if it was possible to give me an account number… or a name or an office so I can go and pay the 150,000 cedis. He was very reluctant to give it to me, and he even banged the phone on me.”
And as Dzifa would find out, a spokesperson for Areeba says the company is running no such text message promotion with Coca Cola.
The company has handed the case over to police, who are investigating the report.
In the meantime, police are advising mobile phone users to be skeptical of messages that look too good to be true; because they probably are.
The lucky William Turkson said he suspects the fraudsters got his mobile number from a credit transfer point and now he is wary of the security of his mobile phone number.
Turkson says while he was savvy enough not to fall for the scam, he fears others might not be that careful.
“It's very dangerous. When it goes to someone who doesn't analyze or think far in terms of analyzing the information, it could be very easy for somebody to go and buy the recharge card.”
While police continue their investigations, Areeba says it plans to set up a dedicated four-digit number for customers to call if they have questions about any promotion.