Federal Bureau of Investigation says 74 arrested in global crackdown on email fraud

Wednesday, 13 Jun, 2018

The FBI announced 74 arrests on Monday (June 11), as part of a global law enforcement operation aimed at disrupting worldwide business e-mail compromise schemes that are created to intercept and hijack wire transfers.

The arrests were the culmination of "Operation Wire Wire", a six-month campaign that involved the DOJ, the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Treasury, and the US Postal Inspection Service.

The United States Department of Justice has announced the arrest of 74 people in the USA and overseas, including 29 in Nigeria, and three in Canada, Mauritius and Poland, for alleged financial fraud. Roughly $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers were recovered and almost $2.4 million was seized, according to the Justice Department.

According to the Justice Deparment, BEC schemes often target employees with access to company finances, as well as businesses that regularly make wire transfer payments.

A number of the cases that resulted in arrests involved worldwide criminal organizations that defrauded small to large-sized businesses, while others involved individual victims who transferred large amounts of money or sensitive records in the course of business, according to the Justice Department.

"The devastating effects of BEC and EAC scams on domestic victims impact not only the individual but the global economy", FBI Houston Special Agent Perrye K. Turner said. These types of attacks use social engineering tactics to trick unsuspecting employees and business executives into making wire transfers to bank accounts that are controlled by the criminals.

The same groups also ran similar scams targeting individuals, including real-estate buyers and the elderly, the bureau said.

Starting in January, the coordinated enforcement action targeted hundreds of BEC scammers, officials say. However, these various cyber-fraud schemes result in billions of lost dollars, and it seems unlikely that a big dent can be made in catching all the perpetrators. If you believe you may have been a target, you can also file a complaint with the IC3.

The schemes were created to intercept wire transfers from businesses and individuals, including many senior citizens.