Fraudsters target half of mobile money users – Communications Minister

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Communications Minister

Communications Minister, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has indicated that an estimated 50 percent of the mobile money subscribers have either experienced fraud or have become targets for fraudsters.

Addressing the opening session of the climax week of the National cybersecurity awareness month in Accra, on Monday, Owusu-Ekuful said the scale of fraud are staggering, as on daily basis more than 400,00 messages are scanned from reaching the final recipients.

Mobile Money Subscribers

Currently the total registered mobile money accounts across the three major telcos have outstripped the country’s total population.

The latest data from Bank of Ghana’s payment system shows that the registered number of mobile money accounts increased to 29.99 million in June 2018 from 21.36 million recorded in June 2017, representing an increase of 40.40 percent over a one-year period.

The minister noted that, in 2017, a telecom operator reported that it had received about 365 complaints of fraud monthly from its subscribers.

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service has also revealed that as at August this year, Ghana had lost US$97 million due to Cybercrime.

This is evident, as the Service report that its cyber crime unit is only able to investigate and prosecute just about 10 percent of fraud cases reported to it. This, it attributes primarily to the fake identities used to register SIM cards.

Owusu-Ekuful said it is imperative to cultivate a safe cyber culture and safe cyber hygienic practices.

“With 10 million Ghanaians connected to the internet, of which 4.9 million are Facebook users alone, the impact of any cyber-attack on our e-business platforms or on mobile telephony will impact negatively on businesses and on the lives of Ghanaians,” she said.

Child Protection

Owusu-Ekuful said the ministry will operationalize the child online support unit of the cyber security center, with the support of UNICEF.

The unit is expected to serve as a point of contact for the government and other major stakeholders to identify and implement programme including, awareness creating on ways to protect children on the internet.

Public Sector

According to her, the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) is currently working with the World bank to deploy a secured network for all government institutions to help improve the general cyber security situation in the public sector on a sustainable basis.

By Joshua W. Amlanu