SIM swap fraud: EOCO, Association of Bankers arrest four in GH¢ 200,000 operation

The suspects managed to withdraw an amount of GH¢ 200,000 in their modus operandi before their cover was blown and subsequent arrests.

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The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) in collaboration with the Ghana Association of Banks, have arrested four (4) persons for engaging in SIM swap fraud.

According to a representative of the Association of Banks, Ransford Nana Addo Jnr, the suspects managed to withdraw an amount of GH¢ 200,000  in their modus operandi before their cover was blown and subsequent arrests.

The suspects are currently under interrogation and are expected to be arraigned later this week on various charges.

The arrests comes on the back of earlier engagements between the Executive Director of EOCO, COP Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah and Mr. John Awuah CEO of the Ghana Association of Banks for collaboration to fight fraud in the banking sector. 

Commenting on the development, Mr. Awuah cautioned that banks have begun sharing intelligence and have enhanced cooperation with all security agencies, especially EOCO to rid the banking sector of fraudsters.

SIM swap fraud occurs when fraudsters obtain a new SIM card from a person’s mobile service provider using the person’s registered phone number.

 They can get One Time Passwords (OTPs) and other alerts required to conduct financial transactions through the person’s bank account with the help of this new SIM.

In 2020, the banking sector fraud report released by the Bank of Ghana, banks witnessed a marginal increase in reported fraud incidents with a minimal decrease in losses.

The reduction in losses was mainly due to a reduction in the rate of success for most fraud types.

A total case count of 2,670 cases was recorded in the year 2020, as compared to 2,311 cases in 2019.

The reported value of fraud for 2020 was GH¢1.0 billion, as compared to GH¢115.51 million recorded in 2019.

 The notable increase in the value reported was a result of high values recorded in attempted correspondent banking fraud (forgery of SWIFT advice).

Even though the banking sector did not suffer any losses from any of the correspondent banking fraud attempts, it posed a reputational risk to some banks, whose staff were found culpable in two of the three reported incidents.

Losses incurred as a result of fraud for 2020 stand at GH¢25.40 million, as compared to an estimated loss of GH¢33.44 million in 2019, representing a 24.0% decrease.