The world loses $557 million annually to cyber crime, with Ghana now ranked among the top 10 countries in the world where the crime, popularly known as 419, is most prevalent.
Two other West African countries, namely, Nigeria and Cameroun, are also among the top 10 countries, according to the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) of Nigeria, Mrs Farida Waziri.
Nigeria, by far, leads the African group with eight per cent rate of the crime, followed by Ghana and Cameroun with 0.7 and 0.6 per cent, respectively.
The United States tops the world with 65 per cent, followed by the United Kingdom, 9.9 per cent, and Nigeria's eight per cent.
Others are Canada, 2.2 per cent; Malaysia, seven per cent; Ghana 0.7 per cent; South Africa, 0.7 per cent; Spain, 0.7 per cent, and Cameroon, 0.6 per cent.
"Although we contribute an insignificant portion to cyber crime, that is unjustifiable because any level of criminality cannot be accepted," the EFCC Chairman stated.
Mrs Waziri was speaking at the opening ceremony of the first West African Cyber Crime Summit (WACCS) which is currently going on in Abuja, Nigeria.
More than 300 delegates, mainly law enforcement personnel, from 10 West African countries are attending the three-day workshop which is on the theme, "The Fight against Cyber Crime: Towards Innovative and Sustainable Economic Development."
The objectives of WACCS are to position the fight against cyber crime as a national priority to help the economic development of the region, provide a platform to develop capacity building with scalable and sustainable solutions and strengthen trust by developing partnerships among various stakeholders at the national and international level.
The summit is also expected to showcase best practices and case studies of partner organisations in combating cyber crime.
The event is being hosted by the EFCC, in collaboration with Microsoft, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), with the participation of the Council of Europe, the International Police Organisation (INTERPOL) and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).
Mrs Waziri pointed out that the $557 million was the recorded figure from reported cases, adding that the figure could run into billions of dollars if most victims reported cyber crimes.
She explained that most victims shied away from reporting their losses to the authorities for fear of being branded greedy, gullible or stupid.
She said the goal of West African governments should be to ensure that their countries dropped out of the top 10.
She also hinted that there was a gradual movement of cyber criminals from Nigeria to neighbouring West African States.
Mrs Waziri, therefore, urged political leadership across West Africa to adopt common measures and strategies for combating cyber crime, which was gradually creeping into other West African countries.
The Vice-President of Nigeria, Dr Mohammed Namadi Sambo, in a speech read on his behalf, stated that as a follow-up to the summit, the Nigerian government would collaborate with stakeholders in the sub-region with a view to anticipating and pro actively outlining policy initiatives to fight cyber crime.
For his part, the General Manager of Microsoft Anglophone West Africa, Mr Emmanuel Onyeje, urged banks, schools, health care institutions, among others, to find innovative ways of fighting cyber crime, since it affected people from all walks of life.
Representatives from the UNODC, the Ministry of Justice, the Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics, Financial Crimes and Anti-corruption, ECOWAS, among others, pledged their readiness to help fight cyber crime.