With multiple criminal schemes and enticements awash across the world wide web, the U.S Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has announced, in a news release to USAfricaonline.com, the initial impact of its large-scale, international cyber-crime sweep targeting fraudulent Business Email Compromise (BEC) transactions.
According to the FBI, “The international targeted sweep ran from January to early June 2018 and culminated in two weeks of focused law enforcement activity in the United States and Nigeria.”
In Texas’ Harris County, the FBI arrested 11 persons in ‘Operation Wire Wire’ which involved law enforcement partnership of the FBI Houston Cyber Task Force, the Houston Police Department, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
The FBI Houston Cyber Task Force claimed the first domestic arrest in ‘Operation Wire Wire.’ The 11 suspects will face money laundering charges in the State of Texas.
In its description of how the Business email compromise schemes, also known as CEO impersonation schemes work, the Bureau notes they “are sophisticated scams targeting businesses working with foreign suppliers and other businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments. The Email Account Compromise (EAC) component of BEC targets individuals who perform wire transfer payments. Foreign citizens who perpetrate BEC scams are often members of transnational criminal organizations which originated in Nigeria but have spread throughout the world.
On the implications, “the devastating effects of BEC and EAC scams on domestic victims impact not only the individual but the global economy. Scammers have stolen millions of dollars from individual victims and honest, enterprising businesses around the world,” stated FBI Houston Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Perrye K. Turner. “To avoid becoming a victim of BEC and EAC scams, verify the authenticity of any email you receive, especially those that request you to send money through a wire transfer,” cautions SAC Turner.
Also, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received complaints from 1,258 victims within the state of Texas with losses of almost $55 million, USAfricaonline.com has been informed, for 2017. •• By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com; and recipient of several journalism and public policy awards. He has been profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans. He worked previously for the Nigerian Television Authority, Platform magazine, and the Daily Times of Nigeria; and has served as adviser on Africa business to Houston’s former Mayor Brown. USAfrica, CLASSmagazine and USAfricaonline.com are assessed by the CNN and The New York Times as the largest and arguably the most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia networks. USAfrica established May 1992.