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EFCC declares Lekki Nigeria’s Hotbed of cyber crime

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Lekki, the fast-developing upper-middle-class area of Lagos State, is emerging as the new hub of internet-related fraud, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said.

Investigations by the Lagos Command of the anti-graft agency in the second quarter of 2021 indicated that Lekki has become the preferred location for all manner of cyber fraud syndicates.

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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.

Data made available to journalists yesterday by the EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, showed that while the Advance Fee Fraud Section was responsible for 243 arrests, the Cyber Crime Section of the commission executed 18 sting operations, which resulted in 159 arrests, from which 13 convictions have so far been recorded.

The record showed that of the 159 suspects arrested by the Cyber Crime Section, 70 were from Lekki communities such as Ajah, Badore, Victoria Garden City, Sangotedo, and Oniru.

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Ajah accounted for 24 suspects, while Oniru and Sangotedo had 14 and 13 suspects respectively. Badore had eight suspects.

Neighbouring Ikoyi and Eko Atlantic had two and one suspects each. Ikorodu and Alagbado on the Lagos Mainland made up the remainder.

Uwujaren revealed that the suspects were mostly millennials, with 82 of them aged between 25-34 years.

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“This indicated that most of the individuals arrested are either still in school, recent graduates, or university dropouts,” he stated.

Analysis of the data from the Cyber Crime Section further shows that the dominant form of internet crime was Dating Scam/Online Dating Scam/Romance Scam.

The commission disclosed that 64 per cent of individuals arrested by its operatives were involved in romance scams, followed closely by “Middle Man Scam” and “Picking” which accounted for eight per cent and seven per cent respectively.

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According to Uwujaren, the 64 per cent 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 by the agency 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 revealed that gift cards, at 39 per cent, were the prevalent method employed by the suspects to access their illicit funds. It was closely followed by bank transfers at 27 per cent and Cryptocurrency at 21 per cent.

A total of $12, 512.49 was recovered from the e-wallet accounts of four suspects within the period, the agency disclosed.

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