Operatives of the Abuja Head Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, have apprehended seven internet fraudsters at the Sunshine Estate, Gwarinpa, a metropolis at the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, as part of the resolve of the acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, to ensure that online fraud is reduced to the barest minimum.
A statement released by the anti-graft agency gave the names of the suspects as Asuquo Happiness, Agboje Lucky, Emmanuel Ochuko Okume, Lucky Ijire, Karo Ijire, Chinaka Chijoke Promise and Ibrahim Adiat.
The suspects, who were arrested on June 11th, 2019 had in their possession a Toyota Camry 2018 and a Toyota Corolla, as well as Infinix, Nokia and iPhones mobile phones.
Investigations into their nefarious activities, which spanned months, revealed that they specialized in stealing people’s identities on social media, particularly FaceBook and Instagram. They then use the stolen identities to create fake profiles, using same to establish fraudulent relationships, with the aim of defrauding their victims.
Some of the aliases used to perpetrate online fraud, include, James Bord, Tom Clanson, Paul Hanson, Clinton Maher, Richard Jordan and David Morgan.
One of them uses phishing as his modus operandi where he sends out bulk messages and malware with viruses, which when the target clicks on the message, they are able to gain access into their victim’s information.
Another claims he goes to the “dark web” to buy hacked logins to look for any business transaction and double cross the transaction using another account.
One of the suspects confessed to creating over 20 social media accounts.
They further confessed to having at various times made $5,479, $4,900, $1,500, $2,500, $7,000, $27,000, which were received through Western Union, Bitcoin, exchangers, and through Nigerians based outside the country, who have offshore accounts.
The operatives had previously arrested another set of internet fraudsters in Enugu State, aged between 20- 26 years. They were arrested at two different locations, Brick city Estate, Independent layout and Goshen Estate, in possession of three Mercedes Benz, two Lexus and one Avalon, including SIM cards and laptops.
Investigations revealed that they engaged in crypto currency.
A lady, Shalom Hart, 24, a graduate of Ebonyi State University was also arrested for internet fraud. The suspect specialised in posing as Fabian Smith, a writer, a contractor or a soldier from the United States, US, to defraud her victims, she also posed as a businesswoman and blogger in the name of Stacey Dash.
As part of the mission to rid the country of internet fraud, the operatives had in the course of investigations, gone on the trail of the fraudsters traced to four states – Delta, Edo, Enugu and Imo states.
In a related development, another sixteen suspects were arrested on May 27, 2019 in Owerri, Imo State. The suspects aged between 18 and 30, include, Cassy Egekonye, Omonisho Efe, Egwuatu Stanley, Okafor Divine, Solomon Chimnobi, Igwe Ajoku Clinton, Chukwuemeka Elvis, Osuasu Daniel, Destiny Dibor, Chukwuemeka Precious, Chidera Ozirigbo, Uba Ifeanyi, Nwosu Kelvin, Okoli Munachi, Mark Jack, and Martins Anthony.
They were arrested at two different around Nekede and Owerri metropolis.
Investigations revealed that they disguised as military men from the US or serving in Afghanistan used different pseudo-names, such as Richard David, Anthony Williams, Francis James, Davies to defraud their victims of their hard-earned monies.
Several incriminating items were found on them such as laptops, phones, diabolical items and two vehicles.
They all will soon be charged to court.