Sophisticated Nigerian email scams are continuing to actively dupe vulnerable Australian families into giving up large sums of money in order to receive greater returns, despite ongoing warnings of the risks.
Speaking to reporters at the AusCERT2007 security conference, Detective Brian J Hay from the Fraud and Corporate Crime Investigation Group of the Queensland Police said over the last 14 months out of 139 people transferring money to Nigeria, 135 people were victims.
“From the volume of the money that’s leaving the country, it’s getting worse - we’re looking at about $500,000 a month [in QLD] being transferred to Nigeria and that is about one fifth of the national average," he said.
“The unfortunate part is that of those people who lost the largest amount, 76 per cent refused to acknowledge our advice and continued to send money.”
Furthermore, the scams are increasing in sophistication, diversifying and spreading to other West African nations like Ghana, said Hay.
“Ghana is very disturbing - it’s possibly 3 to 4 times more than what we’ve seen in Nigeria.”
Mr Addul-karim Harisu Chukkol, head of cyber crime team at Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), joined Hay in warning Australians about opening unsolicited mail.
“There has not been one instance where any person, anywhere in the world has received any money. All emails anyone receives regarding access to a secret bank account, inheritance, invoice contracts, claim forms or similar schemes are fraud,” Chukkol said.
“Do not trust any email that comes from persons representing themselves to be Nigerian government public officials with emails containing Hotmail or Gmail.”
According to Hay, the EFCC had prosecuted over 2,000 cyber-criminals since it commenced operations approximately fours years ago, but that has also resulted in offenders moving to other West African countries.
Queensland Police will host a national Nigerian fraud symposium in the upcoming months.
AusCERT2007: Aussies still being scammed
By Negar Salek on May 23, 2007 3:30PM
Queenslanders are forking out around $500,000 a month to Nigerian email scammers.