The Central Bank of Ghana has indicated its preparedness to connect 23 leading banks in the country to its newly established Financial Industry Security Operating Center next year, aimed at curbing the spate of cyber fraud in the system.

Interacting with the Business and Financial Journalists in Accra, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison noted that the central bank’s decision to roll the banks onto the FISOC platform was as a result of recent rise in the number and value of ATM fraud cases and other types of fraud, as captured in the 2020 banking industry fraud report.

“This is a developing matter, we are investigating it. As you know, the financial services are becoming technology-driven financial services; the risk associated with ATMs will also go up. Fortunately, we are looking very closely at that”, he said.

According to him, with the connection of all banks to the industry hub, the Bank of Ghana will be in the best position to be able to monitor the cyber risk associated with the country’s financial system.

Bank of Ghana’s 2020 Banking Industry Fraud Report

Findings from the Bank of Ghana’s 2020 Banking Industry Fraud Report confirmed that ATM/POS fraud recorded the highest reported loss value of approximately GH¢ 8.20 million in 2020, as compared to an approximate loss value of GH¢ 1.26 million recorded in 2019.

This represents a 548.0 % increase in losses in year-on-year terms, the report noted, adding that most of these losses are as a result of card related fraud.

Although the report acknowledged the surge in the usage of electronic cards following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, it also revealed that E-money fraud recorded a significant increase in loss value. “ Loss incurred through E-money fraud increased from approximately GH¢ 0.37 million in 2019 to an estimated GH¢ 1.04 million in 2020, representing a 180.0% percentage increase,” it stated.

Recommendations for the mitigation of Cyber/E-mail fraud

The report called on financial institutions and E-Money Issuers to put in place transaction monitoring systems that can identify unusual spending patterns and potential fraudulent transactions.

It also recommended that the banking industry should put in place measures designed to raise awareness of cyber/e-mail related crime among consumers, noting that information sharing between banks on counter-measures against fraudulent activities should be encouraged to help protect the industry and its customers from fraud.

This, it stressed, could be achieved by the use of a Fraud Intelligence Sharing System (FISS) which offers the benefit of sector-wide intelligence.

“The FISS is a central industry database – an extremely secure, flexible and cost-effective intelligence system designed to support the card and retail banking industries in the fight against fraud. It can be used to identify linkages and patterns in frauds, thereby playing an important role in protecting consumers,” it revealed.

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