The Federal Bureau of Investigation says 250 vendors have lost nearly $5m (about N800m) to 400 actual and attempted “purchase order frauds” allegedly organised by Nigerian cyber criminals.
The United States security agency said in a statement on its website that investigators had found more than 85 companies and universities in the country whose identities were used to perpetrate the fraud.
“What began as a scheme to defraud office supply stores has evolved into more ambitious crimes that have cost retailers around the country millions of dollars—and the Nigerian cyber criminals behind the fraud have also turned at-home Internet users into unsuspecting accomplices,” said the FBI.
According to the investigators, through online and telephone social engineering techniques, the fraudsters trick retailers into believing they are from legitimate businesses and academic institutions and want to order merchandise.
“The retailers believe they are filling requests for established customers, but the goods end up being shipped elsewhere — often to the unsuspecting at-home Internet users, who are then duped into re-shipping the merchandise to Nigeria.”
A special agent, who has been investigating the cyber criminals since 2012 out of FBI’s Washington Field Office, Joanne Altenburg, said, “They order large quantities of items such as laptops and hard drives. They have also ordered expensive and very specialised equipment, such as centrifuges and other medical and pharmaceutical items.”
According to the FBI, the criminals set up fake websites with domain names almost identical to those of real businesses or universities, and do the same for e-mail accounts, and also use telephone spoofing techniques to make calls appear to be from the right area codes.
The statement further stated, “Next, the fraudsters — posing as school or business officials—contact a retailer’s customer service centre and use social engineering tactics to gather information about the organisation’s purchasing account.”
Culled from: http://www.punchng.com/business/business-economy/n800m-lost-to-nigerian-cyber-criminals-fbi/