BY ROSEMOND BOATENG ADDAI | Rosemond.firstname.lastname@example.org
THE GHANA Chamber of Telecommunications, in association with the mobile telephony industry players, celebrated this year’s World Consumer Rights Day at the central market in Accra to educate traders to safeguard their mobile phones from fraudsters.
The event, which was organised on March 15, 2019 on the theme ‘Trusted Smart Products’, was also aimed at educating traders, commuters and the general public in the safe use of technologies, applications and services provided by mobile network operators.
Ing Kenneth Ashigbey, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, explained that smart products are all part of a larger connected systems and networks, and vulnerability in any part could compromise the entire system.
He said with the availability of just a mobile device with airtime and internet connectivity, one could either scam or be scammed.
“It has, therefore, become very necessary for everyone to be extremely cautious [about] who they are interacting with on the network, social media or any other public forms,” he added.
According to the CEO, they have seen consumers at the mercy of unscrupulous persons who are devising creative and sophisticated ways through social engineering to defraud customers of their digital finances.
He said “as an industry, we are committed to combating this menace and as such partnering with the law enforcement agencies to protect our cherished customers.”
Ing Ashigbey pointed out that in order to overcome these setbacks associated with the mobile money service, mobile money subscribers should change their Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) at least once in every month, avoid saving their PIN codes in their mobile devices, have password to protect their phones, and avoid sharing or giving their PIN and tokens out to anybody.
He cautioned Ghanaians to be vigilant and not discuss their wallet or financial details with anybody over a telephone call.
He also entreated Ghanaians to buy their mobile phones, devices and accessories from trusted and licensed equipment manufacturers and dealers who can afford the customer the opportunity to verify the authenticity of their products.
“Given the uniform appearance of most mobile phone batteries and chargers, and the fact that counterfeit or fake mobile phone manufacturers imitate all facts of a branded phone’s appearance to make their products appear genuine, it can be difficult to identify which products are fake and which are genuine,” he said.
The CEO concluded that consumers had rights and equally had responsibilities, and that they would work with the customers to ensure they did not compromise on their security and data privacy as they gained access to these new services, more responsive products, and greater convenience and choice.
Mr Benjamin Akoto, Head of Compliant, Consumer Protection Agency (CPA), said in Ghana, authorities were not enforcing the laws and urged the regulators and all stakeholders to make sure that the interest of consumers were well protected.
According to him, Ghana is yet to pass the Consumer Right/ Competition Bill that has been in Parliament since 2007, lingering from Cabinet to the Ministry of Trade without any seal from the Executive to present it to Cabinet for onward processing that will make it into a law.
“We take opportunity to call on Ghanaians to rise up and join the movement that seeks to compel the relevant authorities to pass the Consumer Right Bill into law without further delay,” he added.