The Deputy Commandant, Ghana Police College, ACP Dr. Herbert G. Yankson says awareness creation is the only cure to cyber fraud in Ghana.
According to ACP Dr. Yankson, awareness creation does not only put people on the alert but also saves them from falling victims to the activities of cyber frauders.
Speaking on the theme 'Understanding Cyber Fraud; The Challenges and Our Response' at the 2022 Fraud Awareness Week organised by First National Bank in Accra, ACP Dr. Herbert G. Yankson said "Awareness creation is another. We are so gullible as a people sometimes and we tend to believe anything we are told, those are some of the enablers"
"If you talk about fraud, it is very broad when it comes to cyber crime. It captures romance and scooped websites"
Business Email Compromises
"We have business email compromises where we have people who tend to depend on emails thinking that that it is secure and that anything that is communicated between two people are secure and they also tend to trust the emails" he revealed.
He further explained that in 2017, business email compromising became very problematic for many individuals as well as banks in the country.
"Some people have signed an agreement with their banks and emails are sent to the banks to allow transfers into certain accounts or persons without crosschecking. They think that it is secure so these criminals are able to intercept and then modify these proforma invoices among others"
He also revealed that cyber criminals also use social engineering where they use voice calls to tap information from people and later fraud them.
"Identity fraud is also another where they pretend to be that person or another since our phones are able to accept phone numbers as other user names"
On statistics, ACP Dr. Yankson said "From somewhere 2015, we have had most of our cases with cyber crime being related are about 60% are fraud related and we kept on trying to reduce them"
"As at last year, it was hovering around 40% of cyber cases being fraud related. So it means that as people, we are quite gullible. One of the key things we need to do is to ensure that there are lots of awareness creation"
He stressed "The only cure to fraud is awareness creation and that is what we need to hammer on most often"
Taking his turn, Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics Consultant, Philemon Hini said "When it comes to cyber fraud, there are various schemes depending on the capability of the frauders and what they want to achieve. They adopt several schemes so they can fraud people"
Credit Card Fraud
He said "Some cyber criminals will steal credit card information to shop online or book expensive hotels or even plane tickets and with these kind of fraud, it is quite easy to perform"
"Sometimes, the criminals do not need to have that capabilities to go and hack into a banking system or a payment gateway in order to be able to have some financial records. They only open the cyber space, which is the dark web which is a part of the cyber space which is not easily accessible to ordinary users and some of these stolen informations are easily sold there. So with some few dollars, they are able to buy these card information and they use it to perform their activities"
"In some cases, we have Impersonation within the cyber space. These days, impersonation have become so easy because of social media"
"We put so many information out there and the cyber criminals are able to put the pieces together and through that are able to impersonate someone with even fraudulent documents to be able to gain an account"
Recruiting of Insiders
He also revealed that cyber criminals also recruit Insiders in various institutions who relay vital information of activities in the organisations to them.
"There are fraudulent schemes where cyber criminals will try to recruit insiders. People who are disgruntled in the institutions, try to manipulate their psychology to act on their behalf"
Mr. Hini also revealed that some insiders are able to release network architecture of the institutions they work with among others.
Sharing his thoughts, Chief Legal Advisor, Ministry of National Security, Osei Bonsu Dickson said "We can talk about electronic stealing, cyber stealing, cyber fraud. If we look at the Criminals Offences Act, it talks about fraud, defrauding people by force pretence. But now, these can be done virtually"
He stressed that although there is cyber fraud, people must make it a pointto take serious measures.
"The world has moved into a technological sphere and in that sphere, the criminals have also moved into that direction and it is important that we have Instruments to curtail it. There is cyber fraud and we have to take measures and those measures are in the nature of the cyber security measures outlined" he noted.
Executive Director of the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), Maame Tiwaa Addo-Danquah described cyber criminals as well-structured inviduals with command and control.
Well-structured inviduals with command and control
"These groups, they are well structured in terms of command and control. In these well structured group, the criminals relay information to their Oga (Boss) who does not necessarily have to be in the jurisdictions of where the activities are ongoing. There are also the 'Elder boys', those are the people who take direct instructions from their Oga or Chairman"
"There is the 'Senior boys'. These Senior boys are the supervisors of the cyber criminals as they perform their dubious activities. They create fake platforms"
Informants in banking sectors
"There is also another group who don't necessarily need to know each other depending on their participation in the whole architecture. There are the main criminals who are the master minds of the whole crime. There are some people in the banking sector who will be providing information about customers to these cyber criminals"
Deputy Head, Legal and Protection, Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), Leo Anthony Siamah (Esq) said "Another trick are the third party or the agents banks employ in carrying out some of their functions. These people are not active or main employees of a bank so it is easy to get to them"
He also added that cyber criminals push their agents to seek employment in some institutions adding that it becomes their hot zone to leak vital informations.
"All these people have particular roles whether or not they are sent to tye bank to actually look for employment and then facilitate these things, it is also another matter.
The various experts advised the general public to limit the release of information on social media, avoid responding to certain unknown emails and calls.
They also appealed to the public to be very mindful and alert to avoid falling victims to these cyber frauders.
Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith