CID Alerts Public To New Internet Payment Fraud
Fraudsters now hack into the e-mails of business people who transfer various amounts of money through the banks to their counterparts outside Ghana, especially China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and other European countries.
According to the CID, perpetrators of the crime initially hacked into the e-mails of business people, by which means the criminals monitored communication on supplies, shipments and payments. Ultimately, the fraudsters diverted payments into their own accounts.
From January to June this year, three Ghanaian business people fell victims to the activities of the fraudsters and variously lost £10,000, $75,000 and GH¢400,000.
All these monies were transfered from banks in Ghana supposedly to banks in the aforementioned countries, but they ended up in the accounts of the fraudsters.
The Director of the Commercial Crime Unit of the CID, Supt Felix Koku Mawusi, said the tricks employed by the fraudsters were simple, as they hacked into the e-mails of business people to monitor their communications on sales and the shipment of goods.
He said when the two parties reached the stage where money was to be transferred, the fraudsters took over from the suppliers.
Usually, they opened a bank account outside Ghana, usually in the supplier’s country of origin.
Thereafter, they created a new e-mail address and then gave instructions for the transfers to be lodged into their account, which was different from that of the supplier.
The buyer’s confirmation for funds to be transferred went directly to the fraudsters and they confirmed same with confidence.
Supt Mawusi said in some of the cases, just a letter was changed in the buyer’s e-mail addresses and that was okay to carry the mail from an entirely different person to another person.
He, therefore, advised people in business who used the Internet in their trading activities to carry out such transactions at secure sites.
Supt Mawusi noted that some business people had given their passwords to their assistants to e-mail transactions on their behalf and called for the practice to be stopped.
He urged businesspeople who often used the phone and fax to confirm e-mail transactions at all times before they transferred funds.
“There is the need for Ghanaian business people to go behind the Internet to establish face-to-face contacts to know their trading partners wherever they are located before they transfer funds to them,” he advised.