Interpol Busts BEC Scam Syndicate, Arrests 12 Suspects

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Chiemelie Ezeobi

The INTERPOL Cybercrime Unit, National Central Bureau (NCB), Abuja, has arrested 12 alleged members of a cybercrime syndicate, who specialise in Business E-mail Compromise (BEC) scam.

The bust was part of a Nigeria Police Operation coordinated with the INTERPOL based on intelligence report.

The suspects were said to be members of ‘Silver Terrier’, a network known for BEC scams, which had harmed thousands of companies globally.

During the 10-day operation, which took INTERPOL Cybercrime Officers NCB, Abuja, carried out simultaneously in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; Lagos Island, Lagos State and Asaba in Delta State, targeted suspects said to have been identified ahead of time by intelligence provided by the INTERPOL Cybercrime Directorate in Singapore.

THISDAY gathered that field operations were preceded by an intelligence exchange and analysis phase, where the Cybercrime Unit of the NCB Abuja used INTERPOL’s secure global communication network – i24/7 to work with the police forces across the globe and also help in the investigation of BEC scams linked to Nigeria.

Preliminary analysis were said to have confirmed that the suspect’s collective involvement in BEC criminal schemes associated with more than 50,000 victims.

One of the suspects arrested had in his possession more than 800,000 potential victims’ domains credentials on his laptop.

Another suspect was said to have been monitoring conversation between 16 companies and their clients and diverting funds to Silver Terrier whenever the companies’ monetary transaction was about to be made.

During the bust codenamed Operation Falcon 11, the unit said it sent a clear message that cybercrime would have serious repercussions for those involved in BEC Fraud, “particularly as we continue our onslaught against the threat actors, identifying and analysing every cyber trace they leave.”

The vice president of INTERPOL and Head of National central Bureau Abuja, AIG Umar, emphasised that at this time of increased threats, “members of the public, businesses and organisation are reminded to protect themselves from online scams.”