Operation reWired: 281 BEC scammers arrested in US and Nigeria

by Gabriel E. Hall - -

281 business email compromise scammers caught in the USA, Nigeria, Turkey, Ghana, and other countries

281 BEC scammer arrests made by the EFCC. 167 of them in Nigeria

The United States Department of Justice announced about a worldwide operation which helped them to track down 281 BEC (business email compromise) scammers.[1] There were 167 arrests performed by law enforcement agencies in Nigeria, 74 criminals were caught in the United States of America, 18 people in Turkey, 15 cybercriminals in Ghana, and the rest are located in other countries such as Italy, France, UK, etc.[2] According to the report, all of these procedures were performed in a four-month period:[3]

<…> was conducted over a four-month period, resulting in 281 arrests in the United States and overseas, including 167 in Nigeria, 18 in Turkey and 15 in Ghana. Arrests were also made in France, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom (UK). The operation also resulted in the seizure of nearly $3.7 million.

The law enforcement agencies who supported the so-called Operation reWired project have already arrested $3.7 million from the 281 arrested criminals and have also recovered about $118 million that was illegally transferred during the operations initiated by BEC scammers. 

Operation Wire Wire was the beginning of the massive crackdown

Operation reWired is not the only crackdown that has been carried out. More than one year ago, a similar operation named Operation Wire Wire ended up with the arrest of 74 criminals involved in BEC scamming activities. 42 of them were found in the United States, 29 in Nigeria, and the rest in Canada, Poland, and Mauritius.

The operation appeared to be successful as well as law enforcement agencies had seized around $2.4 million from the bad actors caught during it. Also, $14 million that was involved in fake money transfers was also recovered:[4]

The operation also resulted in the seizure of nearly $2.4 million, and the disruption and recovery of approximately $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers.

BEC attacks explained. Know what's important to protect yourself

BEC or Business Email Compromise,[5] is a common activity between hackers nowadays. Mostly, crooks choose businesses and try to take down their employee accounts. They try to misuse them for sending bogus messages to other employees or partners. Most often, the scammers require specific payments for non-existing products or services and collect these payments without authorization.

Unfortunately, scammers have been gaining more and more income by using BEC method. Recently, security experts announced about the theft of over 250,000 ID details all of which were stolen by the same 281 arrested people. Nevertheless, security experts discovered that they were urging for more than $91 million worth transfers.

Our suggestion would be going thru the following steps:

  • Sort out all of your received emails carefully as some of them might have the chance of being crime-related
  • Always try to identify the sender and verify the expectations of receiving a particular message
  • Check for typo and grammar mistakes in the message as mistakes should warn you about bad expectations
  • Contact the company directly if you end up with any concerns.

About the author

Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

Gabriel E. Hall is a passionate malware researcher who has been working for 2-spyware for almost a decade.

Contact Gabriel E. Hall
About the company Esolutions

References


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