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.

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.

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…

Chief Superintendent Dr Yankson explained that agents of telecom companies are selling pre-registered SIM cards in contravention of the law.

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…