Interpol arrests Nigerian email scammer who swindled $60 million

His criminal ring pulled off the scheme by pretending to be CEOs or suppliers

Interpol has arrested a top Nigerian email scammer who stole more than US$60 million by tricking businesses into handing over funds by posing as trusted suppliers.

The 40-year-old Nigerian, known as “Mike,” is allegedly the leader of a criminal ring that targeted hundreds of victims across the world, Interpol said on Monday.

He and at least 40 other individuals pulled off their scheme by allegedly pretending to be CEOs or suppliers using hacked email accounts of legitimate companies.

The criminals then sent fake emails, asking the victims to wire funds or send payment to bank accounts under the scammers’ control.

The Nigerian at one point conned a victim into paying $15.4 million, Interpol said. To hack the email accounts, the scammers targeted small and medium businesses in the U.S., India, and Romania, among other countries.

Authorities first became aware of Mike when, in late 2014, security firm Trend Micro began investigating the malware used in his scams. The malware was designed to steal email and web logins.

By analyzing the malware’s command-and-control infrastructure, Trend Micro managed to track the Nigerian’s location. Mike was then arrested in southern Nigeria in June and he faces charges for hacking, conspiracy, and obtaining money under false pretences.

However, Interpol made no mention of the rest of his criminal ring. Its members also come from Nigeria, along with Malaysia and South Africa, Interpol said.

These kinds of email scams, also known as “CEO fraud” or “the supplier swindle,” have become a growing problem. Businesses across the world have been duped into giving away at least $3.1 billion, according to the FBI.

Interpol is advising businesses verify an email sender’s identity before wiring off any funds. To avoid hacking, emails accounts can also be better protected when using two-factor authentication.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?