74 scammers arrested for hijacking email addresses, stealing money

13 Juin, 2018, 12:59 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • 74 scammers arrested for hijacking email addresses, stealing money

The arrests were the culmination of "Operation Wire Wire", a six-month campaign that involved the DOJ, the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Treasury, and the US Postal Inspection Service.

Punch reports that the United States Department of Justice announced that the suspects include 29 in Nigeria, and three in Canada, Mauritius and Poland.

Law enforcement also seized almost $2.4 million as part of the operation, and recovered approximately $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers by disrupting the BEC schemes, the DOJ said. This "cyber-enabled financial fraud" - which originated in Nigeria, the same source of the notorious Nigerian prince email scams - fools victims into believing they're sending money to business partners, while they're really giving thousands of dollars away to thieves. Sometimes they'll ask for sensitive information such as employee tax records instead of, or in addition to, asking for money.

The FBI said people have reported losing more than $3.7bn since it started tracking the issue through its Internet Crime Complaint Center. They then use the accounts to direct employees to transfer funds into bank accounts controlled by criminals. The fraudsters will also target individuals with romance or lottery scams.

Starting in January, the coordinated enforcement action targeted hundreds of BEC scammers, officials say.

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It culminated in more than two weeks of intensified law enforcement activity resulting in 73 arrests in the US and overseas, primarily in Nigeria, and the recovery or seizure of about $6 million.

Fraud-fighting expert Shirley Inscoe, senior analyst at Aite Group, notes: "It is always a very positive thing to see law enforcement agencies working together internationally to fight fraud and punish the perpetrators. When this amount of money can be stolen with little risk of getting caught, there will always be people willing to commit fraud".

If you believe you've fallen victim to a scam, you can report it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation here.

In a statement published on the agency's website, it said, the operation was a coordinated effort by the federal authorities including the Department of Justice and the FBI aimed at intercepting illegal wire transfers from businesses and individuals across the globe.

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