The National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) has busted a 42-year-old man with 656 ATM cards connected to nine banks operating in Ghana and Nigeria.
Bachir Musa Aminou, who claims to be a Nigerian but holds a Nigerien passport, concealed the cards in a black plastic bag containing kola nuts bound for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
He was busted at the Kotoka International Airport on September 12, when he was going through departure formalities en route to Dubai.
He arrived in the country on August 20, this year on transit to Dubai.
The suspect first arrived in Ghana on April 29, 2020, and left for Dubai on May 26, 2020, through Ethiopia.
The ATM cards are connected to a local bank and eight other banks in the country of Nigerian origin.
Aminou claimed, during interrogation, that 132 of the cards were his, and that he collected them from his extended family for his business.
He said the rest of the cards were for his business partners in Dubai.
He said he was a businessman who plied his trade in Dubai, China, Nigeria, and Ghana and denied any links to fraudulent activities.
The cards are to be submitted to the Bank of Ghana (BoG) today for further investigations.
Aminou also had in his possession $12,000 and a list of the various PIN numbers of some of the ATM cards.
ATM fraud has been a major challenge for the financial sector.
According to a BoG fraud report, ATM/POS-related fraud accounted for 32.2 percent of total fraud loss in the banking sector in 2020.
It recorded the highest lost value of GH¢8.19 million in 2020, compared to GH¢1.26 million recorded in 2019, representing a 548.1 percent increase in year-on-year terms.
ATM card fraud recorded for 2020 mainly involved the fraudulent appropriation and use of customer card details for online shopping and unauthorized debits and transfers from victims’ accounts through electronic banking.
Other instances include incidents where culprits steal victims’ cards and use them to make withdrawals from ATM machines.
According to the report, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic forced bank customers to use alternative channels for payments and bank services.
It stated that poor personal safety perception and inadequate customer sensitization by banking institutions might be the cause of the increase in the ATM/POS fraud type.