Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Wire transfer scam: Federal Bureau of Investigation arrests 74 in US, Nigeria, other countries

Wire transfer scam: Federal Bureau of Investigation arrests 74 in US, Nigeria, other countries

Police arrested 74 suspects involved in an global email scam bust.

USA authorities said on Monday that 74 people had been arrested in a global crackdown on email fraud scams, in which criminals have attempted to steal billions of dollars from businesses and individuals.

"BEC, also known as cyber-enabled financial fraud, is a sophisticated scam that often targets employees with access to company finances and trick them using a variety of methods like social engineering and computer intrusions into making wire transfers to bank accounts thought to belong to trusted partners but instead belong to accounts controlled by the criminals themselves". And the same criminal organizations involved in BEC scams also frequently exploit individuals, including real estate purchasers and the elderly.

It doesn't just happen to small businesses, though.

The schemes were created to intercept wire transfers from businesses and individuals, including many senior citizens.

The operation, funded and coordinated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, also included the Department of Homeland Security, Treasury Department and U.S. Postal Inspection Service, along with many other law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and worldwide, the Justice Department says.

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

All told, 29 individuals were arrested in Nigeria, and three were apprehended in Canada, Mauritius and Poland.

The Justice Department charged 23 people in Florida for laundering at least $10 million from email scams, targeting several companies and a law firm, according to court documents.

In one case, the U.S. alleged that two Nigerians living in Dallas posed as a property seller when requesting a $246,000 wire transfer from a real estate attorney. One victim actually lost at least $440,000 from the email fraud.

"Fraudsters can rob people of their life's savings in a matter of minutes", said Attorney General Sessions. "These are malicious and morally repugnant crimes".

This type of scam has cost victims more than $3.7 billion, according to complaints logged with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), the Justice Department said.

Like this: