Mobile Money (MoMo) fraudsters have taken their nefarious activities a notch higher after it came to light that they now target MoMo wallets which have been synchronized with bank accounts. This was brought to the fore by MTN Mobile Money executive, Mr Godwin Tamakloe who explained this in a zoom discussion with members of the Journalists for Business Advocacy (JBA), how the thieves operate.
He said the fraudsters often follow the same routine they use to dupe unsuspecting customers of their hard earn cash but this time around as they keep telling you about settings from the MTN office, they may lead you through some steps which in the end generates an ATM token for them which they use to empty all your money.
Mr. Tamakloe further assured Ghanaians that despite the rise in strategies being adopted by the criminals, MTN is committed to fighting the menace as they engage the police to fight these fraudsters.
This year, a total of 13 mobile money fraudsters have so far been arrested and there appears to be no let-up in the quest to nab more of them. MTN has requested that such fraudsters should be published in the media to serve as a deterrent to others. “Our management has written to the head of the police in that direction; we are still appealing to the police,” Mr Tamakloe disclosed.
Mobile money, which has become so popular after it was first introduced in Ghana by MTN in 2009, is an electronic wallet system linked to a mobile phone number. The service allows users to store, send, and receive money using their mobile phones. The service is operated by three major Mobile Network operators: MTN (MTN Mobile Money), AirtelTigo (AirtelTigo Mobile Money) and Vodafone (Vodafone Cash).
With mobile money, one can send and receive money safely, pay utility bills, TV subscription, buy movie tickets, buy airtime, withdraw cash at merchants’ points including ATMs, and pay for goods and services. Bank of Ghana’s Payment System Statistics on mobile money in Ghana revealed the constant growth of MoMo services.
Statistics about MoMo theft from the Director-General in charge of the Cybercrime Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Dr. Gustav Herbert Yankson indicateS that in April 2019, mobile money operators recorded 388 money fraud cases in 2016 as against 278 in 2015.
“Various sums of money have been made away by the fraudsters; the majority of these cases have been reported to the police for further investigations and some have been successful as suspects have been tried and convicted of their fraudulent actions,” ACP Dr. Gustav Herbert Yankson had revealed in 2019 when he was creating awareness about the activities of the fraudsters.
He said victims of MoMo fraud had lost monies ranging from ¢70 to ¢4,000, describing their experience as unfortunate.