cyber security

 

Nigerian man arrested for taking $60 million in email scams


PUBLISHED Mon, August 01, 2016 - 10:18pm EDT


A 40-year-old man accused of leading a network of scammers to steal more than $60 million from hundreds of people and businesses around the world has been arrested in southern Nigeria, officials say. A second suspect has also been arrested. (more)

The main suspect, whose real name was not released but who was known as "Mike", is accused of leading an international criminal network responsible for thousands of cases of online fraud. In one instance, a target was conned into paying out $15.4 million.

Mike was arrested in the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt during an operation led by the international police agency Interpol and the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission. Evidence of a range of crimes, including business email scams and romance scams, were found on devices that were seized.

According to Interpol, Mike was in charge of a network of about 40 people who worked from Nigeria, Malaysia and South Africa to provide malware and carry out the scams. He also had money-laundering contacts in China, Europe and the U.S. to route money from the scams through bank accounts.

Interpol said the group's fraud included two types of scams that targeted small to medium-seized businesses. For one of the scams a supplier's email would have to be compromised, allowing the group to send out fake messages to the company's clients to pay a certain amount to a bank account.

For the second type, the scammers would seek to gain access to the email accounts of high-level business executives to instruct their employees to send out a wire transfer. The money would then be paid out to a bank account under the group's control.

Victims of the group were identified in Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, Romania, South Africa, Thailand and the United States, according to Interpol. It did not identify the individual or company that was conned into paying out $15.4 million.

Both Mike and the second suspect, identified only as a 38-year-old, face charges that include hacking, conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretenses. Both suspects have been released on administrative bail as the investigation continues.





  Port Harcourt, Nigeria        12 UPDATES

 



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