Federal Bureau of Investigation arrests 29 Nigerians for alleged internet fraud

The coordinated law enforcement effort was "to disrupt worldwide business e-mail compromise (BEC) schemes that are created to intercept and hijack wire transfers from businesses and individuals", the agency added.

The department said Operation Wire Wire, a coordinated law enforcement effort by the US Department of Justice, US Department of Homeland Security, US Department of the Treasury and the US Postal Inspection Service, was conducted over a six month period.

They arrested 74 people nationwide, including 42 from the United States that were involved in an organization called BEC, Business Email Compromise.

Today's statement also said that federal authorities seized almost $2.4 million and disrupted and recovered approximately $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers.

Many of these cases involved worldwide criminal organizations which defrauded not only small-to-large sized businesses but also individuals including real estate purchasers and the elderly. By using phishing, social engineering and other types of malicious attacks and intrusions, these potential targets are tricked into making wire transfers that are believed to be the legitimate bank accounts but instead are controlled by criminals. The fraudsters will also target individuals with romance or lottery scams.

The Department of Justice did not immediately provide a full list of those arrested, or the criminal complaints, but it said that, "since the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) began formally keeping track of BEC and its variant, email account compromise (EAC), there has been a loss of over $3.7 billion reported to the IC3". The elderly are particularly targeted in BEC schemes.

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".

"Many people are greedy, and so there will be others ready to quickly step in to take up the task of committing these frauds".

Law enforcement officials arrested 74 fraudsters for allegedly intercepting and hijacking bank transfers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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