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Business News of Thursday, 12 July 2018

Source: Goldstreet Business

Financial services industry major target for cyber fraud – e-Crime Bureau

The financial services industry is currently a major target and accounts for almost 65 percent of cyber-crime related activities in the country, a board member of the e-Crime Bureau, Dr. Kwame Antwi-Boasiako has said.

“Illicit activities including passport, visa fraud and crimes in the telecoms sector have also been increasing gradually and we have to find means and strategies to curb it if we can’t eliminate it totally”, he told the Goldstreet Business.

The Bureau, he noted, receives majority of complaints from corporate bodies’ particularly from banks and non-bank financial institutions, adding, “The degree of cyber fraud activities in such financial institutions is currently alarming and could be rated at 65 percent”.

“We try to investigate the modus operandi of the suspected criminals and advise the police and the BoG accordingly when such complaints are made”, he said.

A report released by Kenyan-based IT firm, Serianu Limited, revealed that Ghana’s economy lost a total of US$50 million to cyber-crime in 2016. The same organization in its 2017 report, disclosed that the country lost US$54 million. Serianu estimated that the loss could reach US$60 million by the end of this year.

The Central Bank’s Governor, Dr. Ernest Addison, at a financial inclusion symposium organized by the Mastercard Foundation last year, told the Goldstreet Business that cyber-crime is consistently posing challenges to Ghana’s financial inclusion agenda.

However, Dr. Antwi-Boasiako said the e-Crime Bureau has projected the amount to be even more than the US$54 million which the country lost in 2017, as the increased in digitization is naturally increasing the risks related to cyber-security.

“We have consistently discovered that insiders at the banks collaborate with the perpetrators to commit such crimes. We normally don’t publish such information but only makes it available to the BoG and the affected institutions” he disclosed.

Anytime there is a system disruption at those organizations, there is loss of substantial money, adding, “Hundreds of companies in the country are not immune to these risks”.

The e-Crime Bureau, Dr. Antwi-Boasiako indicated, collaborates closely with the BoG, the Security and Exchange Commission, the Police, the military including other corporate bodies to investigate cases of suspected fraud activities related to cyber use.

The Bureau, which currently operates in Accra and Kumasi, hopes to open regional offices across the country to bring its services closer to clients.

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