Last July 11, 2018, the United States Department of Justice announced that they have arrested 74 individuals (42 in the US, 29 in Nigeria, and 1 each from Poland, Canada and Mauritius) because of their involvement in BEC (business email compromise) scams swindling millions of dollars from people across the globe. US law enforcement seized about $2.4 million and recovered nearly $14 million in fraudulent transfers.
BEC, also known as cyber-enabled financial fraud, is a sophisticated scam. The scam involves BEC fraudsters posing as trusted vendors or corporate executives of legit corporations. They will establish communication by sending phishing emails to firm employees with access to the company’s finances and then instruct the victims to transfer funds to accounts they control.
They also target real estate buyers and those who are not tech-savvy especially elderly users. Using social engineering techniques, they will trick them to wire money or reveal personal data.
Dubbed as “Operation Wire Wire” and coordinated by the FBI, US authorities and international law enforcements have been working with the following institutions:
- Homeland Security Investigations
- U.S. Attorneys’ Offices
- Secret Service
- Postal Inspection Services
- Treasury Department
It took them six months to finally get hold of these criminals.