QLD, Nigeria partner with industry to combat million dollar cybercrime

Lovesick Queenslanders still falling prey to Nigerian scammers.

Nigerian AFF scammers rely on their persuasive skills, use of fake documents, as well as the greed and guile of the victims to obtain money. And most scammers don't know the extent of the damage they have caused as they are mostly after money.

"If we don't take action it will be very embarrassing to the country." He said most of the victims are outside of Nigeria, but Nigerians also fall victim to the scams.

In September last year, the Nigerian police conducted operation Stop Payment -- a cooperation with foreign agencies to design and implement disruptive strategies.

"We don't have a criminal database in Nigeria and people can walk in to a Western Union and collect a few thousand dollars without any checks, but we are now collaborating with international delivery services and banks," he said.

Enforcement in Nigeria has led to dispersal of the fraudsters to Spain, the Netherlands, the UK, US, South Africa, and other neighboring countries.

Chukkol said the crack down has had a real effect. From 2003 to 2008, 281 people were convicted out of 336 charged with online scams and there has been a disruption of criminal activities at public Internet cafes.

"Operation Cyberstorm 1 was carried out in April 2008 in 23 cities in Nigeria with 136 suspects arrested and 780 computer systems recovered," he said. As it turned out, all of these are eBay scammers and the owner of the cyber cafe will be charged with aiding and abetting the crime.

The EFCC's work is having a positive impact as many of the "king pin" scammers are moving into other countries, according to Chukkol.

The Nigerian police are working with ISPs and cyber cafes to develop due care guidelines and prevent the abuse of their facilities by scammers, and compulsory registration of all ISPs, cyber cafes is now mandated in line with the Advance Fee Fraud Act of 2006.

Chukkol said the main challenges to preventing fraud include international cooperation which is still inadequate.

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Rodney Gedda

Techworld Australia
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