In May this year, Kwame, a businessman in Accra, decided to buy a vehicle. After finding a 2013 Toyota Highlander advertisement online that suited him, he entered into negotiations with the seller, Kwadwo Appiah. But Kwadwo, in conjunction with his team of crooked friends, duped Kwame and disappeared into thin air.
After an endless chase that produced no meaningful result, Kwame was left with only one choice - to report the crime to relevant authorities. He contacted Tonaton.com, Ghana’s largest marketplace and the Odorkor Police Station for assistance. As part of Tonaton.com’s newly enhanced fraud-fighting measures, every ad poster on the site is now verified using nationally-recognized ID and in-person visits in some cases. This makes it easy to identify, blacklist and apprehend fraudsters in collaboration with Ghana police. In Kwame’s case, Appiah was apprehended and taken to the Odorkor Police station for processing.
As Ghana’s internet penetration deepens, more and more Ghanaians are expected to take advantage of the convenience and ease of trading online. Tonaton.com alone reports over 23 million pageviews every month, giving an indication of the way in which Ghanaians have embraced online trading. As this trend continues, online safety measures needs to evolve to ensure that the few unscrupulous persons misusing the internet to perpetrate fraud are stopped.
This responsibility lies with both online marketplaces as well as the Ghana Police. Tonaton.com, Ghana’s leading online platform, in response to this call, has ushered in an impressive arsenal of safety measures to support Ghana Police with online fraud cases. The company has pioneered an Ad Poster Verification Process which requires extensive information on users to be verified and validated as a requirement for selling on the platform. This will not only discourage illegal activities through the screening of users of the platform, but will also enable easy tracking of persons who exploit the platform to perpetrate fraud.
Ghana police have several cases of online fraud pending, but with the introduction of mandatory ID verification from Tonaton.com, Ghana Police can now quickly close off several cases. The new process was designed after several engagements with members of the Ghana Police service. Speaking to the media, Sandra Owusu-Kyerematen, the company’s managing director, said “Fraudsters are creative, and are constantly scheming to concoct new tactics. The best way to help stop their fraudulent activities is the availability of timely, accurate and relevant information to the police, which Tonaton.com’s internal database and fraud detection system provides.”
With most marketplaces allowing users to provide very little information about themselves, Tonaton.com stands out as the one and only online platform proactively supporting Ghana Police to ensure online safety. On other platforms, users can get away with using fictitious names and addresses. They can also place classifieds with fake contact details like e-mails and phone numbers but with a quality-check marketplace like Tonaton.com, unconventional security measures like the Voter's ID, biometric passport or in-person verification have been put in place to safeguard the safety of all users. Potential buyers can also examine the reputation of sellers to determine their trustworthiness.
With these novelties in place now, Ghana police now has an easier time apprehending online fraudsters and several appeals have began pouring in with assistance to close pending fraud cases.
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