Global Email Scam: US Arrests 30 Nigerians
The US has arrested 74 people including about 30 in Nigeria, as part of an effort to combat email scam artists around the world.
US officials said the arrests – which occurred in the US, Nigeria, Canada, Mauritius and Poland – reflect a coordinated crackdown on people who convince correspondents to wire them money for fraudulent activities.
Stating that such schemes are ‘prevalent’, authorities said they have seized, recovered or disrupted more than $16m since January, BBC writes.
FBI Director Christopher Wray, whose agency funded and coordinated the operation, said: “This operation demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to disrupt and dismantle criminal enterprises that target American citizens and their businesses.”
It is understood that the effort, which involved local and federal law enforcement agencies, targeted scammers who trick people into transferring them money, for example by impersonating a business partner or colleague.
In one case, the US alleged that two Nigerians living in Dallas posed as a property seller when requesting a $246,000 wire transfer from a real estate attorney.
Authorities also went after “money mules” – “witting or unwitting accomplices” who receive the money from the victims and transfer it as directed by the fraudsters.
One man was extradited from the UK in 2016 for his role in a scheme that allegedly sought to take $2.6m. He pleaded guilty in January to wire fraud and identity theft.
According to the FBI, people have reported losing more than $3.7bn since it started tracking the issue through its Internet Crime Complaint Center.