red flags

Nigerian Online scam now into coporate fraud

An active online scam also a payment-diversion campaign that targets small and medium businesses in non-English-speaking countries, including India has been discovered. The intent of the online scam is to divert payments from ongoing, legitimate business transactions conducted by the victim to their own accounts.

A Nigeria-based loosely organised  group is behind the operation, which is a modern twist on 419 scams. According to the security firm, 45 percent of the group’s victims observed are from India. While many others are from Indonesia and Vietnam.

Nigeria has become one of the hubs of BEC. Nigerian online fraudsters, known as “Yahoo boys”, became notorious for trying to pass themselves off as people in financial need or Nigerian princes offering an outstanding return on an investment.

The capers became known as “419 scams” after the section of the national penal code that dealt – ineffectively – with fraud.

“Yahoo boys” even impersonated a US forces commander in Afghanistan to defraud people by asking for help in recovering the assets of deceased soldiers.

It forced the commander to issue a Facebook statement saying he would never try to contact anyone asking for financial help.

Now the scammers have bigger fish to fry, with the potential gains amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars a year, according to CrowdStrike.

Behind the fraudsters is an organised crime network with its hands in human trafficking, drugs, prostitution, money laundering and email fraud and cybercrime, according to the CrowdStrike report.

Unlike more sophisticated cyber criminal groups, these scammers rely on third-party providers for documentation, tutorials and malicious software to create their exploits. These tools allow the group to gain access on the victim’s computer to download and install malware and to track their operations from a simple, easy-to-use management console.

Beware of online scams.