The United States Department of Justice has announced the arrest of 74 people in the USA and overseas, including 29 in Nigeria, and three in Canada, Mauritius and Poland, for alleged financial fraud. "It's easy to hide in a mesh of email accounts, so this is good news".
"Operation Wire Wire", a coordinated effort by Interpol, national police forces, and U.S. agencies including the FBI, DoJ, Homeland Security, Treasury Department, Secret Service, and the Postal Inspection Service, was conducted over a six-month period.
"To avoid becoming a victim of BEC and EAC scams, verify the authenticity of any email you receive, especially those that request you to send money through a wire transfer", Turner said.
The alleged email scammers, spread across seven countries, would target midsize businesses, looking to trick employees who had access to company finances.
The US department also said the same criminal organisations that perpetrate BEC - cyber-enabled financial fraud - also exploit individual victims, often real estate purchasers, the elderly, and others. Sometimes they'll ask for sensitive information such as employee tax records instead of, or in addition to, asking for money.
A number of the cases that resulted in arrests involved global criminal organizations that defrauded small to large-sized businesses, while others involved individual victims who transferred large amounts of money or sensitive records in the course of business, according to the Justice Department.
The US said such scams are "prevalent" and pledged to pursue perpetrators "regardless of where they are located".
According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), these BEC schemes have resulted in losses of over $3.7 billion - and this number is only from the cases that have been reported to the IC3.
"During Operation WireWire, U.S. law enforcement agents executed more than 51 domestic actions, including search warrants, asset seizure warrants, and money mule warning letters. When this amount of money can be stolen with little risk of getting caught, there will always be people willing to commit fraud".
In a statement published on the agency's website, it said, the operation was a coordinated effort by the federal authorities including the Department of Justice and the FBI aimed at intercepting illegal wire transfers from businesses and individuals across the globe.