Cyber Crime Rises But Industry Recovers GH¢160M In 2017

An estimated 80% of the value of all cyber fraud cases was recovered in 2017, the Bank of Ghana has stated.

However, instances of cyber fraud continue to rise as the figure went up by about 42% between 2016 and 2017.

The central bank is therefore embarking on new strategies to reduce the crime to the barest minimum.

Meanwhile the Bank of Ghana has cited rural and community banks of lagging behind regarding reporting cyber crime cases.

The regulator believes this has partly contributed to the rise in the cyber crime cases in the financial sector.

The comments also come at a time where Ghana has been listed as one of the top ten most attacked countries in Africa.

A 2017 report by the Bank of Ghana showed that only 17 out of the 139 rural and community banks, reported cyber crime cases for the year.

They are followed from the bottom by Non-bank financial institutions which had 10 out of the 60 organisations reporting cases of cyber crime.

According to the Bank of Ghana, this also impedes its efforts to clamp down on all cyber related crimes.

Speaking at a Cyber Crime Sensitization Program, Advisor at the Bank of Ghana, Grace Akrofi highlighted the rise in cyber crime cases over the past one year.

“In 2017, the total number of fraud incidents reported to Bank of Ghana increased by 41.66% from 1001 cases in 2016 to 1418 in 2017. In the same year, the total value reported for fraud or attempted fraud amounted to about 190 million cedis of which 16% (GH¢30.08m) was reported as losses and 84% (GH¢160.3m) was recovered.”

She added, “A key concern to us is the widening gap between date of occurrence and detection…fraud is a criminal offence and any delay in its detection could have a significant impact on the performance of the industry as a whole.”

The cyber crimes come in varied forms; suppression of cash in deposit where tellers fail to make deposits on behalf of customers, there is also instances of cheque cloning, forgery and alteration of identification as well as ATM fraud.

There have been earlier interventions by the central bank to address the issue including the establishment of an Inter-ministerial advisory committee and a national cyber security secretariat.

Recently, the central bank has also issued fresh directives compelling banks to comply with new anti-money laundering and cyber crime rules.

Failure to abide by this could see a financial institution fined as much as 60,000 cedis.

Meanwhile, the Head of Financial Stability Department of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Joseph France tells Citi Business News robust plans to reduce the impact of cyber crime.

The sensitization program is expected to largely formulate strategies to bridge the gap between occurrence and detection dates for cyber crimes within the financial sector.