The Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) has paraded a group of Seven young men from Krobo District arrested for mobile money fraud crimes done in the city of Somany and it Areas.
According to BNI, the youthful group has been living together in Somanya and have been jointly plotting several theft schemes targeting mobile money agents in the Country.
Their arrest came as BNI was following up on a number of reports filed to it by mobile money agents in the month of June, complaining of having been cheated of money.
Working together with telecom companies to investigate, BNI managed to apprehend the group of suspected fraudsters – young men ranging between 20 to 27 years of age.
The band has been operating in the Town for about the last 45 days.
How they have been stealing:
According to BNI, members of the group used to approach mobile money agents and ask them for the service of depositing money to their accounts. While the agent carried out the process, the suspects would cunningly peep on the agent’s phone screen and see the secret pin.
They would then ask the agent to sell to them his or her phone – on a very good price. If the agent accepted to sell, they would request to check the phone. Here, they would slickly remove the agent’s sim-card, replace it with another, and hand back the phone to him or her – claiming that they have not liked it and wouldn’t buy it.
They would then rush and swiftly transfer the money from the agent’s sim-card to the account of one of the members of the group – who would withdraw it very fast.
Speaking in an interview with media, Emmanuel Bonsu, 23, one of the suspects said they started carrying out such schemes in Somany, Akuse, Kpong and other areas about 45 days ago, operating in places and so on.
He said he had stolen about GHc42,000.00 so far.
Asked how he started engaging into such activities, Bonsu said he was a mobile money agent and he was cheated in such ways, and he later decided to venture into the theft himself.
Another suspect, Jonas Karikari, 21 said one of the factors that saw him engaged in such was poverty and not having work to do.
“Emmanuel (Bonsu) told me he could show me something to do. So, I came to Somany (From Madina Accra). He told me he would be getting money from agents, send it to me, and I would withdraw it,” he said.
According to Simon Okyei-Baa, the Acting Spokesperson of BNI, investigators are encountering many cases related to mobile money fraud, though he did not present the actual statistics.
He added that there are about ten ways that people are being cheated via mobile money. Among these, fraudsters send deceitful text messages to customers informing them that they have received money on their accounts. Then, they (fraudsters) immediately call their victims asking them to reverse the money, something that unsuspecting clients fall for.
In mid-June this year , BNI said that in the previous two months it had received about 80 cases of people whose money was stolen from mobile phones. In these schemes, close to GHc928,760.00 was stolen.