Cyber fraud tops cybercrime cases

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Dr Herbert Gustav Yankson, Director, Cybercrime Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Ghana Police Service, says cyber fraud makes up 45 per cent of all cybercrime cases, making it the topmost.

However, in terms of the amount lost to criminals, cyber fraud is the second highest after crimes such as intrusion and stealing within the cyberspace.

Dr Yankson made the disclosure on Thursday in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the role of the Police in combating Mobile Money (MoMo) fraud.

He explained that MoMo fraud involved fraudulent acts perpetrated against MoMo users through the use of deceit for unsuspecting victims to part with money.

Dr Yankson said some of the schemes used by MoMo fraudsters include: the Raffle Scheme (one receives a call that he or she has won a raffle and to claim the prize, some amount of money would have to be paid); Long Service Award (one receives a call that he or she has been a long serving customer and is eligible for an award. The fraudsters then request for money as part of requirements for the award).

Another scheme is the False SMS (a false SMS is sent to your number claiming that money was mistakenly sent to you and that you should send it back. If an unsuspecting victim fails to crosscheck from his or her account balance, he or she may end up sending their own money to the fraudsters).

He also mentioned the Sick Child Scheme (the fraudsters manage to gather intelligence on their target victim, call with the information that his or her child is sick and has been admitted to the hospital. They would then request for some amount of money urgently needed to settle some bills of the victim’s child otherwise the hospital staff would not attend to the child).

Others are; Police Arrest Scheme, Romance Scheme (mostly carried out on social media), Transaction Reversal Scheme, Spiritual Schemes (someone calls claiming that he has been asked to kill you through spiritual means but then he wants to spare your life so send him some money as compensation) and Fraudulent SIM Swap Scheme (the fraudsters are able to convince the Tele-Communications Company (TelCos) to change someone’s SIM and re-register it under their details so that they can have control and use it).

Dr Yankson advised the citizenry to probe information from strangers and not fall gullible to their schemes.

He asked them not to allow greed to take the better of them to embrace deals that were too good to be true and be weary of calls, messages or internet links that carried a sense of urgency, pressure or dire consequences.

The Director also advised the public to be abreast with the official call centre numbers of service providers, desist from sharing their MoMo codes with others and ensure that their phones were secured.

Dr Yankson said in case anyone fell victim to MoMo fraudsters, the person should immediately report it to the Service provider to block movement of money from the number and lodge a formal complaint with the Police for investigations.

He said because cybercrime was a new phenomenon in the country, Police officers were being trained to understand the subject better and know what details to request, especially from the TelCos to aid in investigations.

The Director said the Cybercrime Unit was also working on improving technical capabilities and expertise of its staff to tackle cybercrime head-on.

He said the inability to easily and quickly get access to data from the TelCos impeded their work and slowed down the rate at, which investigations progressed.

“Over the years, one of the things we have tried to do is work with them but in all, the Court orders are still necessary because without that, you can’t get access to the data you have requested,” he said.

Source: GNA

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