Fraud Syndicate Raid Four Commercial Banks In Ghana; Millions Lost

An AMT machine in use An AMT machine in use

The Herald has picked up information that, there has been a massive hit on some prominent commercial banks in the country through counterfeited ATM cards, leading to the withdrawal of some huge sums of money from their vending machines.

The situation, has affected banks such as the National Investment Bank (NIB), Ghana Commercial bank (GCB), Zenith Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, among others.

Interestingly, the issue is been dealt with utmost secrecy, with fears that businesses of the banks, will suffer if the information is made public.

But The Herald, gathered that the last two weeks, have been one of the busiest periods for operatives of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) at the Police Headquarters in Accra with the Commercial Crime Department, interrogating some staff of the banks, who are suspected to have played major roles in facilitating the fraud.

In what appears to be the work of a syndicate which includes police officers, cloned cards were used to siphon money from the ATM machines at various times and from various machines in some instances.

In other instances, secret codes or profiles of some senior bank officials of the banks who were on leave, strangely entered the system and enabled the criminal-minded individuals to get access to money.

The situation, has led to some of the banks shutting down their money dispensers abruptly, to change secret codes and prevent the syndicate from having further access to their system. But some of the banks are treating the issue as business as usual.

The Herald is informed that, this week, will also see more staff of the various banks taken turns at the Commercial Crime Division to answer additional questions on the massive theft, some of which occurred outside the country but on the banks', platforms using Visa and Master Cards.

In the case of one of the banks, The Herald gathered that the syndicate got its ATM machines to be disbursing money openly from 12 midnight to the surprise of many. including customers who had gone to the machines to withdraw cash.

Some of these incidents, were captured by the CCTV cameras installed in some of the banks. Few arrests have been made because the syndicate is believed to have hit the systems from unknown locations.

In the case of one of the banks which was worse hit, its systems were entered from locations outside Ghana, and officials of this particular bank, are reporting that they lost as much as GHc4 million.

But only sent home a few staff over the fraud.

Meanwhile, GCB, has since sent notice to its customers over the matter.

The notice issued sometime last week read "Valued Customer, Kindly be informed that our ATMS are facing stability challenges at the moment. We are working in earnest to normalize the situation. In the interim, Our alternate channels: Internet and Mobile Banking including G-Money platforms are however, available. Any inconvenience from this is regretted".

More to come!

Source: The Herald