Nigeria’s Anti-graft Agency Arrests Cyber, Cryptocurrency Fraudsters

Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested 402 suspects between April and June 2021 for their alleged involvement in internet fraud.

Head of Media and Publicity of the commission, Wilson Uwujaren, says most of the suspects were arrested in the Lekki area of Lagos State, which he described as an emerging new hub for internet-related fraud.

Data from the investigation conducted by the Lagos Command of the Commission for the second quarter of 2021 indicated that Lekki area of Lagos has become a popular location for cyber fraud syndicates.

Between April and June, the Advance Fee Fraud and Cyber Crime Sections of the command recorded a total of 402 internet-related fraud arrests, while the Advance Fee Fraud Section was responsible for 243 arrests.

The Cyber Crime Section executed 18 sting operations which resulted in 159 arrests, from which 13 convictions have so far been recorded.

From the 159 suspects arrested by the Cyber Crime Section, 70 are from Lekki, comprising communities such as Ajah, Badore, Victoria Garden City, Sangotedo and Oniru.

Ajah accounted for 4 suspects, while Oniru and Sangotedo had 14 and 13 suspects respectively.

Badore had eight suspects, while neighbouring Eko Atlantic and Ikoyi had one and two each, with Ikorodu and Alagbado on the Lagos Mainland making up the remainder.

The suspects are mostly millennials, with 82 of them aged between 25 and 34, which speaks to the fact that most of the individuals arrested are either still in school, recent graduates or university dropouts.

Analysis of the data from the cyber crime section further shows that the dominant form of internet crime is dating scam/online dating scam/romance scam.

64 per cent of individuals arrested are involved in romance scams, followed closely by ‘middle man scam’ and ‘picking’ which account for eight per cent and seven per cent respectively of those arrested,” he explained.

Wilson Uwujaren pointed out that 64 per cent of the suspects allegedly involved in the dating scam benefitted to the tune of $349,290; £900; €10 and Cryptocurrency 0.17513 (about N8.3 million).

Additionally, he identified the following types of fraud: forgery, possession of fraudulent documents, spamming, credit card fraud, impersonation, rental scam, loan fraud, business email compromise, hacking, stealing, cheque scam, phishing, and money laundering.

The EFCC spokesman said that a total of $12,512.49, about N6.8 million, was recovered from the e-wallet accounts of four suspects within the period.

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