50% of mobile money subscribers are targets for fraudsters – Cyber expert

A cyber crime expert has revealed 50 per cent of mobile money subscribers in Ghana have either been defrauded or targeted by scammers.

Principal Consultant at Electronic Crime Bureau, Albert Antwi-Boasiako, says stakeholders must join forces to curb the menace and related crimes.

He says the inability of police to thoroughly investigate electronic-related cases and lack of public education are among impediments to expose perpetrators.

“On the average, minimum of five people out of 10 have been targeted by mobile money fraudsters, either successfully defrauding them or probably attempting to defraud. So look, half of the population of users of mobile money are being confronted by  scammers. You can’t sit down. I think this is the genesis of why we need to step up [efforts],”says Mr. Antwi-Boasiako.

He particularly recommends intensified public education to curb the problem.

Mr. Antwi-Boasiako wants stakeholders to work together to stamp out the canker.

Mobile money transfer, an electronic financial service introduced in Ghana about ten years ago, has grown to become one of the accessed avenues for cash transaction.

Deposit and withdrawal of money, especially, by the unbanked population is common, a development financial experts believe will facilitate Ghana’s transformation into cashless economy.

However, activities of fraudsters, inability of police to successfully investigate electronic-related crimes and lack of public education are some of the challenges to mobile money operation.

Many subscribers, including even security personnel, have in one way or the other lost money through activities of fraudsters.

Ashanti Regional Police Commander, DCOP Ken Yeboah, has twice fallen victim of mobile money fraud.

Though he will not give details, he told police officers at a capacity building session organized by MTN  in Kumasi they must brace up to deal with the menace.

“Infact, I have personally fallen victim to these mobile money transactions on two occasions and so, I would be very happy to take part in discussions so that I will know where I went wrong and who my beneficiaries were.”

DCOP Yeboah continued:  “Let us as officers, take the training serious so that at the end of the day, we make their business unattractive.”

At least, 40 police officers from the Criminal Investigation Department took part in the training, the second to be organized by MTN Ghana after a similar training in Accra as it step up efforts to nib in the bud mobile money-related fraud.

Telecom giant, MTN, acknowledges the enormity of the worrying fraud trend.

The company saw increasing number of cases from 28 in 2016 to 43 since the beginning of this year.

MTN Sales Manager for the Northern Sector, Peter Bimpeh, believes the situation calls for serious concern by all.

“Overtime, we are seeing a steady increase in the number of fraud cases reported in 2016 with an average 28 cases per month. In the first two months of 2017, we are recording an average of 43 cases per month which is almost a double of last year’s average.”

But despite the increasing number, Mr. Bimpeh says the service is not affected.

                                                                                       

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