Two contractors with access to MTN Ghana’s systems were amongst five people arrested for an attempted GHC2.1mn (USD280,000) SIM swap fraud, reports MyNewsGh.com. The five were described as members of a criminal gang “operating in various parts of the country with the staff of the telecommunication company playing lead roles”.
The five alleged fraudsters were said to have already stolen around GHC200,000 (USD27,000) before they were caught trying to make withdrawals of GHC850,000 (USD110,000), GHC680,000 (USD90,000) and GHC50,000 (USD6,600) from the accounts of three other victims.
Four of the five arrestees have since been released on bail.
- Stephen Arthur and Nicholas Gyekye were each granted bail of GHC6mn (USD800,000)
- Ahmed Ansah and Daniel Kodzi were each granted bail of GHC5mn (USD660,000)
The fifth arrestee, an unnamed woman, remains in prison custody. The case has been adjourned until May 17.
It has become common practice for banks around the world to associate an individual’s mobile phone with that person’s identity. This has made phone services a target for criminals who ultimately want to take control of bank accounts. The amount that can be quickly stolen this way is much greater than the pay given to telco employees and contractors, meaning we must expect a huge rise in the number of insiders who abuse their privileged access to telco systems in order to facilitate fraud. Telcos need to be at least as diligent in detecting and eradicating the fraudsters they have hired as they are at erecting external barriers around their networks.