IgbereTV reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,
EFCC, has arrested a gang of fraudsters who specialise in exploiting
personal data of foreign-based Nigerians to defraud their friends and
relations back home.
EFCC made this known in a statement that
four of the gang-members – ‘Hon.’ Oladipupo Adebayo, Bimbo Bilewu,
Ibrahim Odunayo and Oyeleye Oluwatosi – are currently in the EFCC
custody. Others are still at large.
EFCC had launched a manhunt on the suspects after receiving a petition from one Prof Godwin Ekhaguere.
professor of Mathematics, who retired from the University of Ibadan,
alleged in the petition that the gang defrauded him of sums totalling
N565,500 (Five Hundred and Sixty-Five Thousand, Five Hundred Naira). He
also alleged that the fraudsters made him to part with MTN recharge
vouchers worth N36,000 (Thirty-Six Thousand Naira) in the deal.
to him, he only realised that he had been scammed after he managed to
reach his friends on the phone, who denied sending anyone to him. That
prompted the petition.
It was in the course of investigating the
allegations that the Commission arrested Bilewu at an ATM point where he
went to cash the money sent to him by one Pastor Osuji.
Incidentally, Osuji was also a victim of a crime similar to that which the Commission was investigating.
gang’s patterns of operation are similar in nature. One of them would
call their would-be victim with the impression that he was an old-time
friend, now based abroad. He would claim that he has a mouth-watering
gift to be sent through someone who is allegedly coming home for an
event. The victim would then be handed over to the ‘home-bound’ member.
He would be the one to make all sorts of requests ostensibly to clear
some obstacles to delivering the consignments from the foreign-based
‘relation’ or ‘friend’, as the case may be.
the gang’s operations revealed that they have a mobile application used
in making a local number appear foreign to the call recipient.
They also use unregistered SIM cards to make their calls in order to blur out chances of tracing their real identities.
trick to evade arrest, according to investigations, was to open bank
accounts in other people’s names and take over the ATM cards from them.
They direct their victims to pay into such accounts and use the ATM
cards to withdraw the cash.
The suspects have owned up to the allegations against them, and are now helping the Commission in further investigations into crimes of similar nature.