Wednesday, 8 February 2012

US company claims that Ghana is source of internet fraud

Although Nigeria is probably the country most associated with cybercrime – including “419” scams – Ghana is, according to one US company, quickly catching up with the leaders in terms of cybercrime and fraudulent internet transactions as a proportion of its overall online activity.

A recent announcement by Device Reputation Authority - which provides fraud protection services to online businesses and is therefore an interested party in highlighting fraud or supposed fraud - claimed last week that online transactions (including banking or financial services, gaming, social networking and retail sales) originating in Ghana were more likely to be fraudulent than those from any other country in the world, with Nigeria, the Philippines, China and Israel being the next most fraudulent countries.

Although one may be sceptical about this claim, which was accompanied by a plug for the company's products, a number of other reports or stories in the Western media have mentioned Ghana as a source of fraudulent transactions, and sometimes perceptions can be as important as reality.

Ghana has a justifiable reputation as a strong location for business process outsourcing (BPO) services and there have been a number of impressive local ICT efforts. Any prevalence or perception of online fraud – whether run by Ghanaians or by resident Nigerians – could therefore affect more than just the defrauded customers.

It is interesting that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recently announced that it is conducting a study on both cybercrime and the responses to cybercrime by UN member states, the private sector and the international community as a whole. Governments will receive a questionnaire on “cybercrime prevention, policy, legislation, law enforcement and criminal justice response, international cooperation and technical assistance”, and the results will be published in 2013. Ghana's government, commended on a number of factors including peaceful elections and relatively strong economic policy, will not want to be seen as inadequately responding to domestic fraudulent activity.

For more news and expert analysis about Ghana, please see Ghana Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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