Ghana among top 10 on global Internet fraud table

Cyber fraudGhana Telecom University College, quoting the Internet Crime Complaints Centre (IC3) Report for 2010, on Wednesday said Ghana ranked among the top 10 countries of global internet fraud.

Ghana is at the eighth position and the college said the report was indicative of the extent and nature of internet fraud in the country.

The top 10 countries, according to the report, are United States of America, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, China, Canada, Malaysia, Spain, Ghana, Cameroon and Australia.

These were made known by Dr Franklin Asamoa-Baah, Head of the Faculty of Informatics of the college, at a day’s research seminar organised by the college on internet fraud also known as “Sakawa”.

The seminar was to disseminate findings of a recent research on internet fraud carried out in some selected communities in Accra by the college.

The objectives of the study were to identify the types and causes of internet fraud in Ghana and assess its effect on the nation.

Internet fraud refers to any type of fraudulent scheme that uses one or more components of the internet such as chat rooms, email, message boards and websites to present fraudulent solicitations to prospective victims, or to transmit the proceeds of fraud to financial institutions or to others connected to the internet.

Dr Asamoah-Baah said there had been a shift from physical assets to intangibles as objects of crime, with no boundaries or physical constraints.

“Computer crime is cheap, ubiquitous and fast. It can hurt a huge number of people with one crime and breaks state, national and international laws simultaneously.

“However, most cyber crimes went unpunished”, Dr Asamoa-Baah noted.

According to him, despite the research being limited to Accra, the respondents were unwilling to release information and it had to rely heavily on data from the Ghana Police Service.

High on the list are nationalities from Ghana, Nigeria and Mali with a high percentage of teenagers involved in the crime.

Stolen credit cards topped the list of the crimes, followed by sale of gold and online dating, confidence fraud, fake documents and transfer of inheritance, fake websites, fake contracts, kidnap and robbery and employment scam.

The study, according to Dr Awua-Baafour, identified the causes of internet fraud in Ghana as unemployment, peer pressure and desire for quick money among others.

He expressed worry about the negative image the country was earning through the scams saying they reduced the acceptance and adoption of electronic commerce in the country resulting in monetary loss, loss of property and self worth.

It also, however, was an indication that more youth were becoming information technology savvy.

Dr Robert Awuah Baafuor, Vice President of the College, called for thinking outside the box, more education on computer fraud and an effective collaboration among security agencies to deal with internet fraudsters.

He also advocated for clear legislation on computer scams to make prosecution less difficult.

Source: GNA

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