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Nigeria ranks 16th in FBI’s global worst affected by internet crimes

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The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has ranked Nigeria 16th among the countries most affected by internet crime in the world in 2020.

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FBI in its 2020 Internet Crime Report (IC3) said Nigeria received 443 complaints relating to internet crime within the year. The crime report stated that the FBI in 2000 has received a total of 5,679,259 complaints and an average of 440,000 complaints per year.

The IC3 since its establishment in 2000 has received a total of 5,679,259 complaints and an average of 440, 000 complaints per year. It has recorded a total of 2,211,396 in the last 5years.

Excluding the United States, at the top of the list of the most affected country, is the United Kingdom followed by Canada, India, Greece and Australia.

South Africa is the only other African country among the top 20, ranking sixth with 1,754 complaints.

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The report noted that one of the most prevalent schemes seen during the pandemic has been government impersonators.

“Criminals are reaching out to people through social media, emails, or phone calls pretending to be from the government,” the report said.

“The scammers attempt to gather personal information or illicit money through charades or threats.”

Other countries that ranked better than Nigeria are Pakistan, China, Columbia, and Hong Kong.

The report further stated that fraudsters took advantage of the year 2020 because of the pandemic. The top five crimes reported by victims in 2020 were phishing scams, personal data breach, non-payment/non-delivery scams, Identity theft and extortion.

The report noted that victims lost the most money to business email compromise scams, romance and confidence schemes, and investment fraud.

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Victims of such scams globally lost $4.2 billion in 2020, compared to $3.5 billion lost in 2019.

Regardless of the low complaints from Nigeria, some Nigerians have been arrested in connection with major internet fraud outside the country.

Nigerian entrepreneur Obinwanne Okeke has been jailed for 10 years by a US federal court for masterminding an $11 million cyber fraud on a British company.

Okeke was arrested by the FBI at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, in August 2019, when he was about boarding a flight to Nigeria during a visit to the US.

Another Nigerian Instagram celebrity, Ramon Olorunwa Abbas a.k.a. “Ray Hushpuppi” was also arrested in a Dubai hotel in June 2020.

He is facing criminal charges alleging he conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from business email compromise (BEC) frauds and other scams.

Hushpuppi and co-conspirators allegedly “tricked one of the law firm’s paralegals into wiring money intended for the client’s real estate refinancing to a bank account that was controlled by Abbas and the co-conspirators,” US Department of Justice said.

DOJ said schemes also targeted a U.S. law firm, a foreign bank and an English Premier League soccer club.

It revealed that Hushpuppi also helped launder funds from a heist masterminded by North Korean criminals.

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