A computer science lecturer at the Valley View University, Prof. Clement Dzidonu, has warned that rising internet fraud and business scams originating from Ghana could weaken the country’s e-commerce credibility on the international financial market.

He said Ghana is cited among the world’s ten most famous for cyber offences and this puts the country on a wrong footing.

“I really think that the problem is becoming bigger. If we continue this way, we very soon will be put in a position where we cannot do any other business outside,” he stressed.

Ghanaians have long been persuaded to use the internet to conduct electronic transactions and for education, research and other purposes.

As usage numbers surge, tangible threats from cyber-criminals in the form of phishing attacks, spam, adware and spyware have also emerged, threatening the nascent online consumer population and e-business sector.

But the latest drive in the cybercrime business, known in local parlance as “sakawa”, where criminals, using spiritual charms, coax their unsuspecting victims abroad to send down money and goods for various reasons including medical emergencies and preparations for marriage, is on the ascendancy.

According to the police, such criminals establish trustful relationships with their victims and in the process make huge demands.

Speaking on Joy FM‘s Super Morning Show, Prof Dzidonu, who is also a lecturer at the Valley View University, said if measures are not put in place to check the menace, the ripple effect on the country’s businesses will be damning.

Prof Dzidonu hinted that although the youngsters engaged in such crimes employ spiritism to achieve their ends, that does not write off the country’s increasing risk profile.

Michael, a 19-year-old former die-hard online scammer told Super Morning Show host Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah that internet fraud was real.

He recounted how some of his colleagues had been consulting spiritualists for certain potions which they used to “confuse” their victims in Europe.

Some of the scammers even die in the process of acquiring such charms, he said.

Although internet service providers in the country have been tasked to check the crime, Michael said it will be a tough battle.

He claimed the fraudsters use special software that blocks access to their Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.

Prof Dzidonu however insists that the solution to the canker lies at the doorsteps of the Government of Ghana, the National Communications Authority and the ISPs.

Story by Fiifi Koomson/Myjoyonline.com