Banks fighting cyber fraud with strict measures – Bankers’ chief

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Association of Bankers, John Awuah, has revealed that banks in Ghana have observed that criminals are likely to take undue advantage of the use of technology in doing businesses to dupe customers.

To that end, he said, the banks are instituting and implementing strict measures to forestall any such cyber attacks from happening.

In 2019, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) said the banking industry reported a total number of 2,295 fraud cases as compared to 2,175 fraud cases reported in 2018.

The marginal increase in the number of fraud cases reported may partly be attributed to the improved efforts by the Financial Stability Department to identify, monitor and to ensure compliance with reporting of fraud cases in the industry, the central bank noted.

Also, in recent times, the various forms of advanced technologies adopted by financial institutions have made the banking sector more susceptible to various risks such as phishing, identity theft, card skimming, fishing, email fraud and more sophisticated types of cyber-crime.

Similar to the year 2018, in 2019, suppression of cash and deposits accounted for the largest portion (77 percent) of the total number of fraud cases reported to the Bank of Ghana.

It is important to stress that about 94 per cent of the fraud cases reported as suppression of cash and deposits were perpetrated by staff (either contract or permanent) of the financial institutions.

The alarming rate of involvement of bank staff in the perpetration of fraud in the banking sector, calls for significant reforms in the engagement, remuneration and disengagement processes of employees and contractual staff of financial institutions.

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In 2019, the industry reported a total fraud value of approximately GH¢115.52 million.

Approximately 28.96 per cent (i.e.GH¢33.44 million) of this amount was reported as losses and 71.04 per cent (i.e. GH¢82.06million) was unsuccessful or recovered.

The reported total loss value is made up of GH¢10.35million and remaining balance of GH¢23.09million (as at the end of December 2019).

Speaking to Alfred Ocansey on the Business Focus programme on TV3 Monday, October 5, Mr Awuah said the issue of cyber fraud is major concern to the banks and the regulator.

“As banks, we are an industry that depends almost entirely on trust and confidence so any incidence of fraud is a matter of concern to us,” he said.

“Banks have observed that with increased digitization come with cyber miscreants, people who will try to take advantage of that space therefore investment in that area has been enhanced and banks have routinely been implementing systems that protect the integrity of banking applications and platforms that customers use,” he added.

By Laud Nartey||Ghana