The rate at which subscribers of mobile money are being defrauded by both criminals and some staff of telecom companies has reached alarming proportions.
The service, which has been touted as the innovation to bring banking to the doorsteps of the unbanked, is turning out to be a monster depriving mostly poor people of their little money.
What is even worrying is that, it is very difficult for security agencies to track down the perpetrators due to the use of fake identities.
The Director in charge of the Cyber Crime Unit of the Ghana Police Service, Chief Superintendent Dr. Herbert Gustave Yankson, told The Finder that, as a result of fake identifies, the unit is able to investigate and prosecute only 10% of cases reported, due primarily to the use of fake identities to register SIM cards.
Mobile money, a time-bomb.
He described mobile money as a time-bomb waiting to explode, unless something drastic is done to curb the increasing fraud in the system.
50% of Subscribers experienced fraud or have been a target.
It is estimated that, at least five out of 10 mobile money subscribers have either experienced one form of fraud or have been a target for mobile money fraudsters/scammers.
How subscribers are targeted
Subscribers are mainly targeted through Short Message Service (SMS), phone calls, e-mails and social media platforms, among others.
Confidence in mobile money waning
The increase in reported fraud cases involving some unscrupulous persons and confidence tricksters of mobile money services, is eroding confidence in the system.
Telcos staff involved
What is even disturbing is that, fraudsters arrested by the Cyber Crime Unit included staff of mobile telecommunication companies, who illegally infiltrate the database of telecom companies they work for, and use the information to commit mobile money fraud.
Telcos staff infiltrate database
The Finder learnt that, these employees, without authorization, access the database of mobile money merchants and change the registration details of customers in order to withdraw money from their accounts.
Telcos staff change pin number of customers in the database.
These staff of telecom companies who are in league with criminals then reset the number with the money to a new owner in the database, which gives the new owner access to change the PIN and withdraw monies.
Telcos staff withdraw monies from customers’ accounts.
They then acquire new SIM cards and use the pins to withdraw monies from merchants.
Other modus operandi of the fraudsters.
Initially, the fraudsters could send a text or call and tell subscribers that they have won some lottery so they should send them money to claim their prize.
The moment subscribers send the money, the fraudsters withdraw it and get rid of their SIM so that subscribers can never reach them again.
Their recent strategy is to call subscribers and tell them that there is a problem with account and offer to help resolve the problem.
For instance, victims are told that an amount they received in their account has been wrongly transferred as airtime, and the criminals offer to assist subscribers to convert it back to cash.
The fraudsters then ask subscribers to get another phone so they can take the subscriber through the process, and if the subscribers are not conversant with the system (like most users who do not understand English properly and hence cannot figure out what they may be doing), the criminals make subscribers to generate a code for an ATM withdrawal or get subscribers to send money to their phones, and they bolt with it.
Other criminals also call and tell their victims they have wrongly sent money to their account so they beg the subscribers in the name of all the deities to send it back to them, and once the subscribers do that, the criminals withdraw immediately and get rid of their SIMs.
As the newest fraud technique emerging, some subscribers, without having performed any transaction, receive text messages of withdrawal of money from their accounts.
Dr Yankson sees mobile money as fertile ground for money laundering considering the volume of money circulating through mobile money.
Is BoG monitoring money laundering through mobile money?
Till date, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) has not made any pronouncement on monitoring of mobile money for money laundering transactions.
Sale of pre-registered SIM cards
Chief Superintendent Dr Yankson explained that agents of telecom companies are selling pre-registered SIM cards in contravention of the law. Use of fake identities for SIM cards registration In addition, he said the fraudsters also use fake identities to register SIM cards, and this is possible because the telecom companies are not doing real-time and post-registration verification of identities presented by subscribers.
He stated that the telecom companies always use the lack of a national database as excuse for not doing real-time verification.
Telcos say private solutions expensive.
Even though there exists solutions developed by private companies, he said, the telecoms say they cannot afford.
Proceeds of crime hidden on mobile money.
Chief Superintendent Dr Yankson disclosed that use of fake identities has made it easy for criminals to also use mobile money to receive and hide proceeds of crime.
He noted that when the right identity is used in registration, it makes fighting crime such as mobile money fraud easy and less expensive.
Chief Superintendent Dr Yankson advised mobile money subscribers to change their Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) at least once every month, not to save their PIN Codes in their mobile devices, password protect their phones, and not share or give their PIN out to third parties.
Law on SIM card registration.
Parliament in 2012 adopted the Subscriber Identity Module Registration Regulations, 2011 (L.I. 2006) to give backing to SIM card registration in the country.
Failed SIM card registration.
Telecom companies were made to register all SIM cards, but at the end of the exercise, it was discovered that the registration was full of fake identities and other challenges.
SIM card registration to be done again.
Consequently, the government at the time decided that the registration should be repeated when the National Identification Authority builds the national database of all Ghanaians.
Source: Finder Newspaper
Some persons have sustained injuries after an Accra-bound train from Nsawam derailed at Tesano Monday morning.
Rainbow Radio’s Nhyiraba Kwabena Asirifi told Kwame Tutu that the injured have been sent to the hospital for medical treatment.
The cause of the accident is unknown he said. According to him, police recruits assisted the injured the persons after the train derailed.
Mr David Asante-Apeatu, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) during the closing ceremony of the training programme for Motor Transport and Traffic Department (MTTD) reform in Accra, said every police officer would soon have GH¢ 50,000 insurance cover.
He said the amount would be used in case of death in line of duty and three children would be catered for from nursery to tertiary.
He added that even if one should die accidentally or a natural death, the family would be entitled to GH¢ 25,000, and if an officer should suffer permanent disability, he or she would be entitled to GH¢ 25,000.
Mr Asante-Apeatu said the course was to adequately equip participants with skills and competences to delight the motoring public firmly and fairly to enforce traffic rules and regulations, demonstrate professionalism and reduce corruption practices on the roads and highways.
He said more attention had been given to the MTTD due to the cumulative negative public perception of the department that had a replica effect on the whole police organisation.
He reaffirmed that the Ghana Police Service had begun a major transformation programme to lift the organisation to a status in line with its vision “to become a world class police service capable of delivering planned, democratic, protective, and peaceful services up to international standards.”
“The unacceptable situations where Police Officers on duty, out of sheer arrogance, allow complaints, informants and suspects to parade the corridors of police stations and wait for hours without attention can no longer be tolerated”, he said.
He urged the police officers to do away with all indisciplined and anti-social attitudes which lower the esteem of the service.
Madam Esther Agyemang Asafo, Chairperson, Division for Public Services Workers Union of the Volta River Authority (VRA), has stressed that the AMERI deal is causing the nation $11 million a month.
She told Rainbow Radio’s Kwame Tutu that, AMERI produces the power at 11 cent but VRA sells the same power to GRIDco at 5 cent per the agreement.
According to her, it is not the wish of the company to do that but per the agreement signed, between government of Ghana and AMERI, they have no option.
She indicated, the agreement signed under the previous Mahama administration, has caused Ghana over $218 million hence the need for Ghanaians to be concerned.
She told the host that, if AMERI should continue to provide power for Ghana, we will continue to lose over $218 million annually and over $11 million monthly.
The amount she said is sitting in our books because government has not shown any commitment to pay the debt.
Madam Asafo, underscored the need for proper structures to be adopted by any individuals or companies that intends to generate power for the state, without necessarily doing things to undermine the state power provider.
She also admonished Parliament to re-look into these dimensions because it is not just about signing of contracts, but the day to day operations of the Independent Power Producers (IIPs), is weakening the VRA.
The state power provider must be protected, she stated further.
Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa constituency, KT Hammond is pushing Parliament to rescind its decision to sign the AMERI deal.
Mr. Hammond notably seconded the motion for the agreement between the Mahama administration and the Africa and Middle East Resources Investment Group’s (AMERI Energy), to rent the 300MW of emergency power from the company for $510 million, at the peak of the country’s power crisis.
However, K.T Hammond, who was the ranking member of the Energy Committee of Parliament in 2015 when the deal was approved, told Parliament’s Mines and Energy Committee on Wednesday that AMERI failed to live up to portions of the agreement presented to Parliament in March 2015.
A software engineer has torn into pieces. The recently launched Digital Addressing System.
Mr. Ernest Appiah, says the company contracted to develop the app did a poor job yet charged an exorbitant price for it.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo last week launched the new system and touted it as the dawn of a new era and one that will help transform, formalize and industrialized our economy.
The system, which was designed by Ghanaian information technology firm, Vokacom, will provide every Ghanaian with an effective means of addressing every location and place in the country, using an information technology application.
The project, born from a partnership of the Ministry of Communications and Ghana Post, according to President Akufo-Addo, will give the country a trustworthy database of addresses.
However, Mr. Appaih has shredded the app describing it as poorly developed by the company.
Read Below is observation about the Address System
1. I managed to map out their entire API's urls and realized l can simply make CRUD requests without any authentication. So l decided to use their own API and Database instead of creating my own Database and API
2. Ideally running from my local machine, their web server should reject any HTTP request from unknown Domain or using Basic CORS restrictions. My App managed to break through
3. Since l can make requests to their API easily, l can as well perform SQL injection.
4. I managed to get the list of all the Districts in their system with a simple HTTP Get request. See attached image
5. They keep reaching the limit of their Google MAP API usage, and l keep getting repeated warnings. Hacker can easily use their Google Map API and run billions of requests to increase their API usage charges. To test this, l run 500 requests at once. And see the attached image. Error: The API project is not authorized to use this API"
6. I did a basic Clickjacking ( a type of attack where a malicious site wraps another site in a frame) on the website and it succeeded.
7. Their input fields to enter name and phone number accept gibberish. This means that the platform is vulnerable to Cross site scripting (XSS), a type of an attack that allow a user to inject client side scripts into the browsers of other user.
8. Also, irrespective of which country l am currently located, the system generates unique code for me. Hackers would love this; because if l am located in USA, for example, l can generate millions of unique codes. Their database would be overwhelmed and eventually break down. Instead of 16.1 billion unique codes estimated by Vokacom for 27 million Ghanaians; it could be quadruple, quintuple, sextuple, septuple, octuple, ..., n‑tuple. Basically, 16,000,000,000 x n-tuple. Can you think about the massive amount of redundant data generated?
9. And the list goes on and on
The Government has very good vision for Ghana, however, Vokacom cannot deliver such a poor platform to the Government for such an incredible amount. I will encourage the Government to hire security experts to really look into this.
A regular listener of Rainbow Church, Kingsley Mensah, (not original name) has confessed on the show that he has been able to put a stop to masturbation which he was addicted to for 8 solid years.
The caller told Agyemang Prempeh that, he started masturbating after witnessing some hotel guests' have sex in a hotel his uncle operated.
The caller confessed that on the day he first masturbated, he was asked by the uncle to manage the hotel in his absence for him.
According to him, he peeped through the guests’ door when they were having sex on that fateful day and since that day, he has masturbated for eight years.
He called into the show today [Sunday] and confessed that he’s been able to stop the act and since last week Sunday, he has not masturbated again.
The host prayed with him and thanked God that he [listener] has been able to stop masturbating.
The young man in his early twenties, was also grateful for the support and prayers and thanked the host for using his show to transform the lives of listeners.
President of the Institution of Engineers, Rev. Dr. Ing. E. O Ankrah says, the one-district-one-factory, and one-village-one-dam,will fail without the key role of engineers.
He indicated in an interview that, engineers should be creative, innovative so they can create more jobs.
‘’Engineers are people who have to create jobs. Engineers have to come out with jobs. They have to create jobs. The one-district-one-factory relies mostly on engineers. The one-district-one-dam relies mostly on engineers. They have to stand-up and come and show that, they can do the job because they will handle manufacturing, construction, machines, and production,’’ he said.
He also disputed suggestions that engineers in Ghana are incompetent.
The institution also appealed to government to consider allocating about 20-30 percent of the district selected for the various projects to Ghanaian machinery and equipment manufacturers so they can also use their innovative skills to equip others.
He made the appeal when some 80 new individuals were inducted into the institution as engineers.
Mr Ambrose Dery, the Minister of the Interior, has disclosed that statistics on fire outbreaks in the third quarter indicates a reduction of 41 per cent against that of the same period last year.
He said statistics, made available to the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), shows that 3,377 fire outbreaks occurred in the third quarter of this year, as against 5,638 last year.
He said the estimated cost of damage amounted to about GH¢ 26,962,322.23 this year as against GH¢ 90,935,819.40 last year.
Mr Dery said this in a speech read on his behalf at the 11th Directors and Regional Fire Officers’ Conference in Accra on the theme: “Transformational Leadership towards Efficient Service Delivery”.
The Interior Minister commended the Service for the hard work but indicated that it was necessary to do more to ensure fire disasters never happened, saying, “I wish there were no fires to cause any damage to property”.
He said the Service needed not to rest on the achievement but must strive to reduce fire outbreaks to the barest minimum.
“We must intensify mass sensitisation and education to drum home safety and fire consciousness in the citizenry,” he said.
Mr Dery charged the participants to find out how to improve on the collaboration with other security services to adopt emergency standard operating procedures, especially during national emergencies.
He challenged participants to find lasting solution to fire disasters, which were becoming unbearable for the country.
Mr Dery recounted recent fire outbreaks like the June 3, 2015 disaster, which claimed more than 150 lives and the Atomic Junction Gas Explosion on October 7, this year, which claimed seven lives and injured many.
He reaffirmed Government’s commitment and support in realising the objectives of the GNFS, saying; “Government would continue to support the Service in the area of staffing and human resource development, logistics, welfare, office and residential accommodation, vehicles and equipment.”
Mr Edwin Ekow Blankson, the Acting Chief Fire Officer, expressed his sympathised with the victims and their families in the Atomic Gas Explosion.
Mr Blankson said as government pursued its ‘One District, One Factory’ Policy, the GNFS would work towards achieving a ‘One District, One Well Equipped Fire Station’ with a Protective Clothing for every fire-fighter.
He said the Service would soon have fire simulators comparable to international standards to facilitate training of fire-fighters to build their confidence to fight industrial and domestic fires.
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has urged the first batch of Officer Cadets commissioned from the Military Academy and Training Schools to discharge their duties professionally and diligently.
President Akufo-Addo reminded the new Officer Cadets to “safeguard and protect the territorial integrity of the nation and its citizens, and not to use your position to antagonise the very citizens whose sacrifices have made your training possible. Indeed, you owe it a duty to the nation to work towards ensuring its peace, stability and development.”
He noted that with their commission being the beginning of their careers as professional officers and leaders, they are expected to exhibit exemplary conduct, and also to remain conscious of their responsibilities towards the people of the nation, whose security they would be charged to protect.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Friday, 20th October, 2017, when he commissioned the first batch of Officer Cadets at a ceremony held at the Military Academy and Training Schools.
Besides being equipped with the fundamentals of functional leadership, The President stated that the Officer Cadets have been imbued with the requisite military skills, and other relevant areas of military studies, upon which they are required to build your future careers.
“As young officers, you must be desirous of acquiring more knowledge, so you are not overtaken by the changing tides, in this fast-paced technological era. The sky must be your limit in your quest for information and knowledge,” he added.
The President also reminded them that they are being commissioned into the Ghana Armed Forces, which has carved a niche for itself, over the years, as a unique, disciplined and professional Armed Force, nationally and internationally, in the discharge of its duties.
“It has performed excellently in various international peacekeeping operations, resulting in Ghana being one of the best troop contributing countries for peacekeeping operations in the world,” he added.
With national armies being transformed, in recent times, due to the nature of emerging conflicts, the President noted that the traditional challenges to security on the continent, such as chieftaincy conflicts, armed robberies, land disputes, religious intolerance, ethnic conflicts and political rivalry, are being compounded by contemporary threats like drug and human trafficking, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, cyber-crime and activities of nomadic herdsmen.
Threats from all these non-state actors, he added, have called for a new approach to training in military skills and strategy, in order to counter the challenges presented by the threats.
It is for this reason that President Akufo-Addo assured “our noble officers, men and women, that my Government, with the support of Parliament, would do everything within its power to equip you adequately in all spheres of activities, to enable the force discharge its duty efficiently. Hopefully, you will see signs of this soon.”
President Akufo-Addo, in saluting all the award winners of this academy intake, also presented the Sword of Honour to Senior Under Officer Arthur Barnes who was adjudged the Overall Best Officer Cadet of the Graduating Regular Career Course.
The President also congratulated the Academy Sergeant Major, Senior Warrant Officer Attom Kumah Richard, and his team of instructors, adding that “Ghana is indebted to you for the loyalty and dedication you have exhibited in bringing up the graduands to the desired standard.”
More than 50 Egyptian security personnel have died during a clash with suspected Islamist militants.
The militants opened fire on the group during a raid on their hideout near the Bahariya oasis in the Western Desert, the interior ministry said.
Security forces are understood to have gone into the desert following a tip-off about a possible hideout. Fifteen militants also died in the attack.
Egypt is currently fighting an Islamist insurgency in northern Sinai.
The Bahariya oasis where this attack took place, however, lies hundreds of kilometres south-west of the troubled region.
There has been no claim of responsibility by the Islamist groups active in the area.
An initial claim in Egyptian media linking Hasm, a smaller group, to the attack was later revealed to have been false.
A security source quoted by local news outlets said their convoy came under attack by militants using rocket-propelled grenades and explosive devices.
The situation was reportedly made worse for the security forces by the attackers' familiarity with the area, while the commanding officer was unable to call for land and air reinforcements due to poor telecommunications in the desert.
In total, 53 members of the security service died, sources told the BBC.