12 persons suspected to be cybercriminals have been arrested by the Financial Forensics Unit(FFU) of the Criminal Investigation Department(CID) over an attempt to rob Universal Merchant Bank(UMB) of GH¢326 million.
11 suspects were remanded on Friday, July 27 into police custody to reappear on August 9, 2018, as investigations continue while the last suspect was arrested on that same Friday, bringing the number to 12.
The suspects, believed to be part of a wider cybercrime syndicate made up of Nigerians and Ghanaians, attempted transferring a whopping GH¢326 million from the vault of Universal Merchant Bank (UMB) electronically.
The bank detected that the amount was transferred electronically into the internal operational accounts of UMB and subsequently credited to the accounts of certain customers.
UMB, having suspected that its Information Technology Security infrastructure has been tampered with, quickly alerted the Financial Forensics Unit of the CID, who dispatched personnel to all branches of the bank to arrest persons who will visit the branches to withdraw money from identified accounts credited with the money.
It was discovered that the accounts that the monies were credited to were all single-purpose accounts opened purposely to receive the stolen money, and UMB quickly flagged all the accounts.
Each account was credited with between GH¢10 million and GH¢15 million.
Reports indicate that even before the matter was reported to the police, about GH¢1 million of the money had been withdrawn from some of the accounts through Automated Teller Machines (ATM) in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates using internationally accepted credit cards.
The ages of the all-male suspects range from 25 to 49 years.
UMB announces cyber attack
Management of UMB, in a statement over the weekend, announced that it successfully collaborated with officers of the Ghana Police Service to cause the arrest of members of an unscrupulous syndicate who attempted to attack the bank’s infrastructure.
“UMB wishes to state that due to the significant infrastructural investments made into the bank’s operational systems, the technical and security teams of our bank were quickly alerted and moved very swiftly to avert this situation.
“Our bank remains resilient and very committed to working with the security forces to clean the environment of any form of cyber miscreants,” it said.
UMB expressed appreciation to the Ghana Police Service for their professionalism and tactful recommendations in their collaborative efforts towards the execution of the exercise.
The management of the bank appealed to its valued customers to keep faith with them.