Panelists at this year's Cyber Security Workshop on Mobile Money Fraud held in Accra

Panelists at this year's Cyber Security Workshop on Mobile Money Fraud held in Accra this week called for closer collaboration among stakeholders to enable them effectively mitigate the current wave of threats posed by fraudsters on their customers.

They also suggested an intensive educational campaign across the country to help make the public sensitive against the activities of the fraudsters on mobile money platforms. They added that fraudsters using social engineering mechanisms to defraud mobile money subscribers through their wallets have become prevalent in Ghana.

Statistics available from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service indicates that between 2018 and 2019, money defrauded from mobile users amounted to $93,000 on various mobile money platforms. The rate of fraud is also increasing, as fraudsters stole $49000 as of June 2020.

Discussing the theme: “Mobile Money Fraud and the way Forward,” the DG at the cybercrime unit of the CID, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Dr. Gustav Herbert Yankson, recommended the development of a robust verification system, particularly for mobile financial services and e-commerce platforms.

He added that having such a system in place to verify users' identification cards will aid in tracing, arresting and prosecution of fraudsters. “One cure to this systemic problem is the national identification card,” he said.

Senior manager in charge of risk and compliance at MTN Mobile Money Limited, Godwin Tamakloes urged the National Communication Authority (NCA) as an industry regulator to take the lead in rolling out sensitization programs in local dialects across the country to expose the activities of fraudsters.

Commenting on what MTN is currently doing to mitigate the effect of mobile money fraud on its platform, Mr. Tamakloe disclosed the acquisition of a $2.5 million artificial intelligence platform with machine learning features to enhance monitoring and detection of fraudulent happenings on their mobile money platform.

“We are working with the Telecoms Chamber to make it costly for fraudsters to initiate any fraud attack, in the sense trying to block the phones or the SIM card used in trying to defraud customers,” he emphasized.

Head of fintech and innovations at the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Kwame Agyapong Oppong reiterated the central bank’s commitment to the fight against mobile money fraud through evolving policies and regulations, to ensure the safety of mobile financial services platforms.

He cited the introduction of the Payment Systems and Services Act, 2019 (Act 987), an update of the Electronic Money Issuance (EMI) Guidelines as one of the key industry policies that aim to provide the legal and regulatory framework for the orderly development of the payment system.

“The implementation of the Payment Systems and Services Act, 2019 (Act 987) means that Licenses of payment service providers are well scrutinized to ensure they meet the security and technology requirements that the BoG has introduced to the system,” he said.

The acting head of technical operations at e-Crime Bureau Ghana, Eric Kwaku Mensah insisted that more needs to be done in the area of policy implementation to control and monitor activities third parties in the ecosystem are involved in.

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