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Authorities finally arrested an alleged Nigerian online scammer accused of orchestrating schemes totaling more than $60 million, according to Interpol. The 40-year-old man, who authorities have said is known as “Mike,” is also believed to have convinced one person to pay out $15.4 million.
The man was arrested in Port Harcourt, in southern Nigeria
Mike and another unnamed Nigerian now face charges including hacking, conspiracy, and obtaining money under false pretenses.
According to the international law enforcement organization, Mike used “a network of at least 40 individuals across Nigeria, Malaysia, and South Africa which both provided malware and carried out the frauds.
The alleged mastermind also had money laundering contacts in China, Europe, and the US who provided bank account details for the illicit cash flow.”
The agency did not describe how Mike and his alleged co-conspirator were tracked down.
He apparently used multiple methods. He engaged in payment diversion fraud, where a payment officer is fraudulently directed to pay a large amount of money to some account seemingly at an executive’s behest. Mike also used romance scams, where lonely men and women are chatted up with a faux suitor that eventually ratchets up financial demands.
“The public, and especially businesses, need to be alert to this type of cyber-enabled fraud,” Noboru Nakatani, the executive director of the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation, said in a statement. “Basic security protocols such as two-factor authentication and verification by other means before making a money transfer are essential to reduce the risk of falling victim to these scams.
It is exactly through this type of public and private sector cooperation that Interpol will continue to help member countries in bringing cybercriminals to justice no matter where they are.”
Interpol did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment.