The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says it arrested 402 suspected Internet fraudsters in Lekki, Lagos, between April and June 2021.
It explained that 64 per cent of the suspects benefitted from dating scams to the tune of N8, 310,000; $349,290; £ 900; €10 and Cryptocurrency 0.17513.
This was contained in a statement on Friday by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, titled, ‘Lekki, now a hotbed of cybercrime – EFCC.’
It stated, “Between April and June 2021, the Advance Fee Fraud and Cyber Crime Sections of the Lagos Command recorded a total of 402 internet-related fraud arrests.
“While the Advance Fee Fraud Section was responsible for 243 arrests, the Cybercrime Section executed 18 sting operations which resulted in 159 arrests, from which 13 convictions have so far been recorded.
“Of the 159 suspects arrested by the Cybercrime Section, 70 are from Lekki, comprising communities such as Ajah, Badore, Victoria Garden City, Sangotedo and Oniru.”
Stressing that Lekki, the fast-developing upper middle-class area of the Lagos metropolis, is emerging as the new hub of Internet scammers, the commission said Ajah accounted for 24 suspects, while Oniru and Sangotedo had 14 and 13 suspects, respectively.
It added that Badore had eight suspects while the neighbouring Ikoyi and Eko Atlantic had two and one suspects each.
Ikorodu and Alagbado on the Lagos Mainland make up the remainder.
The statement said, “The suspects are mostly millennials, with 82 of them aged between 25-34 years, which speaks to the fact that most of the individuals arrested are either still in school, recent graduates or university dropouts.
“Analysis of the data from the Cybercrime Section further shows that the dominant form of Internet crime is dating scam/online dating scam/romance scam. Sixty-four per cent of individuals arrested are involved in romance scams, followed closely by ‘MiddleMan Scam’ and ‘Picking,’ which account for eight and seven per cent, respectively, of those arrested.
“The 64 per cent involved in the dating scam benefitted to the tune of N8, 310,000; $349,290; £ 900; €10 and Cryptocurrency 0.17513.”
Other types of fraud identified 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 reveals gift cards, at 39 per cent, as the prevalent method employed by the suspects to access their illicit funds, 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,” Uwujaren said.