No fewer than 402 suspected internet fraud syndicates have been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at Lekki, the fast-developing upper middle class area of Lagos Metropolis within three months.
The anti-graft agency, in a statement in Abuja on Friday by its spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, lamented that the area is now hotbed of cybercrime.
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Uwujaren explained that data from the investigation activities of the Lagos Command of the commission for the second quarter of 2021, indicated that Lekki District is the preferred location for all manner of cyber fraud syndicates.
He said that between April and June, 2021, the Advance Fee Fraud and Cyber Crime Sections of the Command recorded a total of 402 internet-related fraud arrests.
According to him, while the Advance Fee Fraud Section was responsible for 243 arrests, the Cyber Crime Section executed 18 sting operations which resulted in 159 arrests, from which 13 convictions have so far been recorded.
He further noted that of the 159 suspects arrested by the Cyber Crime Section, 70 are from Lekki, comprising communities such as Ajah, Badore, Victoria Garden City, Sangotedo and Oniru.
”Ajah accounted for 24 suspects, while Oniru and Sangotedo had 14 and 13 suspects respectively. Badore had 8 suspects. Neighbouring Ikoyi and Eko Atlantic had 2 and one suspect each. Ikorodu and Alagbado on the Lagos Mainland make up the remainder,” the statement explained.
He said the suspects are mostly millennials, with 82 of them aged between 25-34 years, which speaks to the fact that most of the individuals arrested are either still in school, recent graduates or university drop outs.
Uwujaren added, ”Analysis of the data from the Cyber Crime Section further shows that the dominant form of internet crime is Dating Scam/Online Dating Scam/Romance Scam.
”Sixty Four percent (64%) of individuals arrested are involved in romance scam, followed closely by “Middle Man Scam” and “Picking” which account for 8% and 7% respectively of those arrested.
”The 64% involved in the dating scam benefitted to the tune of N8, 310,000; $349,290 USD; £ 900; €10 and Cryptocurrency 0.17513.
”Other typologies of fraud identified include forgery, possession of fraudulent documents, spamming, credit card fraud, impersonation, rental scam, loan fraud, Business Email Compromise, Hacking, stealing, cheque scam, phishing, and money laundering.
”The data also reveals gift cards, at 39%, as the prevalent method employed by the suspects to access their illicit funds. It is followed by bank transfers at 27% and Cryptocurrency at 21%.
”A total of $12, 512.49USD was recovered from the e-wallet accounts of four suspects within the period.”