Internet dating scams from nigeria

"What these are, are really finely tuned, sophisticated schemes that are targeted to separate you from your money," said Mark Nunnikhoven, vice president of cloud research at cybersecurity company Trend Micro.

They recently released a report on West African cybercrime, which includes Nigeria.

Nigerian scam comes in many forms: 419 scam, when they offer to transfer millions of dollars into your bank account, or lottery scam, when they tell you that you've won something in some bogus lottery.

it didn't matter if it was male or female," said Annette Williams, an assistant U. attorney with the Southern District of Mississippi, who prosecuted the case. "These type of transnational criminal organizations solicit their victims between the ages of 45- 75, widowed men and women.

They choose these individuals because they are lonely, [and] in most occasions, they have access to money," said Todd Williams, an agent with Homeland Security Investigations. J.'s online boyfriend sent her a box of phones and asked her to mail them to Africa. The Nigerian crime ring created a network of what investigators call electronic-mules, or e-mules, across the U. These victims unwittingly helped carry out a bunch of money-making schemes, like cashing fake checks and shipping goods bought with stolen credit cards. "It probably moved through four different hands before something went overseas," Annette Williams said.

"Am totally new to this online dating stuff…" "Am in West Africa for a particular contract but would be getting that accomplished in a couple of week…" "We should be able to take this relationship to another level when i get home."After a relationship was established, the con artists began asking for favors. That's when she got suspicious and called police. The Nigerian criminals were living large for local standards, both at home in Nigeria and in South Africa, where many of the students were living on student visas.

As the crime ring operated, they began to get more sophisticated and relied on prepaid cards to move money, instead of e-mules.

"It would all start where they would purchase compromised credit card data. They would create thousands of American Express Serve prepaid accounts.

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