The Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) has detained four (4) people for SIM exchange fraud in partnership with the Ghana Association of Banks.
Suspects were apprehended at various sites around the country, according to a spokesman of the Association of Banks, Mr. Ransford Nana Addo Jnr, for collaborating and illegally accessing the accounts of some Ghanaians, from which they stole varied amounts.
It was revealed that they were able to withdraw approximately GH200,000 before their cover was broken and they were captured by the security agency, which was working closely with the banks.
When a fraudster obtains a new SIM card from a person’s mobile service provider using the person’s registered phone number, it is known as SIM swap fraud. With the use of this new SIM, they can obtain One-Time Passwords (OTPs) and other notifications required to execute financial transactions through the person’s bank account.
According to the Bank of Ghana’s banking sector fraud report for 2020, banks saw a minor increase in reported fraud events with a minimal decrease in losses.
The decrease in losses was mostly attributable to a decrease in the success rate of most fraud categories.
In the year 2020, a total of 2,670 instances were documented, compared to 2,311 cases in 2019.
Fraud was reported to be worth GH1.0 billion in 2020, compared to GH115.51 million in 2019.
The significant increase in reported value was due to high amounts documented in attempted correspondent banking fraud (forgery of SWIFT advice).
Despite the fact that no damages were incurred by the banking sector as a result of any of the attempted correspondent banking frauds, it created a reputational cost to several banks, whose employees were discovered to be responsible in two of the three documented occurrences.
Fraud losses are expected to total GH25.40 million in 2020, down from an estimated loss of GH33.44 million in 2019, signifying a 24.0 percent decline.
Meanwhile, it’s been reported that suspects will be questioned and arraigned in court later this week on various accusations.
The recent arrest comes months after EOCO’s Executive Director, COP Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah (Mrs), met with Mr. John Awuah, CEO of the Ghana Association of Banks, to discuss how they could work together to combat fraud and revenue leakage in the banking industry.
Mr. John Awuah, CEO of the Ghana Association of Banks, hailed the joint efforts with EOCO that resulted in the arrest of the fraudsters in a statement about the successful operation.
Miscreants should be warned, he said, because banks were exchanging intelligence and cooperating more closely with various security organizations, including EOCO, to rid the financial industry of fraudsters.