Nigeria: EFCC Shuts 800 Scam Web Sites

Internet

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has shut down over 800 scam websites and busted 18 syndicates of email fraudsters in a drive to check cyber-crime that Nigeria is notorious for. "Over 800 fraudulent email addresses have been identified and shut down," EFCC chairman Farida Waziri said in Las Vegas, United States, last week.

"There have been 18 arrests of high profile syndicates operating cyber-crime organisations," she told a gathering of US mayors at the 35th Annual Convention of Black Mayors on Global Vision for Local Action: A paradigm of Connectivity in the African Diaspora.

On a daily basis, Internet users in Nigeria and around the world receive scam emails from fraudsters who impersonate businesses like banks and mobile phone companies. These web forgeries are designed to trick people into revealing personal or financial information by imitating different sources.

Some of the fraudsters hack into private email accounts of prominent personalities and send emails to their contacts claiming to be stranded and asking for emergency cash.

Farida said a latest anti-cyber crime technology called Project Eagle Claw has the capacity to shut down up to 5,000 fraudulent emails monthly when it is fully deployed.

"We expect that 'Eagle Claw' as conceived will be 100 per cent operational within six months. It will take Nigeria out of the top 10 list of countries with the highest incidence of fraudulent emails," Farida said.

"The EFCC is fine tuning security modalities with Microsoft and upon full deployment, the capacity to take down fraudulent emails will increase to 5,000 monthly. Further it is projected that advisory mails to be sent to victims and potential victims will be about 230,000 monthly," she added.

The schemes of Nigerian scammers range from advance fee fraud, lottery scams, phishing, identify theft, and employment and auction scams.

Some of the notorious scam emails Internet users receive from fraudsters include messages posing as if they were coming from online payment company Interswitch, Guaranty Trust Bank, Central Bank of Nigeria and mobile phone company MTN.

Most of these emails have links to fake websites and ask for personal details like account number, pin code and residential address. The companies being impersonated have alerted customers via the media of such scams and have adopted additional security measures to protect their users, but the scammers kept on at it.

Daily Trust