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"The same language was used with one person after another …
it didn't matter if it was male or female," said Annette Williams, an assistant U. attorney with the Southern District of Mississippi, who prosecuted the case. "These type of transnational criminal organizations solicit their victims between the ages of 45- 75, widowed men and women.
They choose these individuals because they are lonely, [and] in most occasions, they have access to money," said Todd Williams, an agent with Homeland Security Investigations. J.'s online boyfriend sent her a box of phones and asked her to mail them to Africa. The Nigerian crime ring created a network of what investigators call electronic-mules, or e-mules, across the U. These victims unwittingly helped carry out a bunch of money-making schemes, like cashing fake checks and shipping goods bought with stolen credit cards. "It probably moved through four different hands before something went overseas," Annette Williams said.
"Am totally new to this online dating stuff…" "Am in West Africa for a particular contract but would be getting that accomplished in a couple of week…" "We should be able to take this relationship to another level when i get home."After a relationship was established, the con artists began asking for favors. That's when she got suspicious and called police. The Nigerian criminals were living large for local standards, both at home in Nigeria and in South Africa, where many of the students were living on student visas.
Crime rings like this one have raked in billion, according to Trend Micro and that's expected to increase as West Africa, the region that includes Nigeria, is considered the new cybercrime hotbed.
Global Business and Financial News, Stock Quotes, and Market Data and Analysis. Now they use more refined scams to rake in millions. In the past, con artists from Nigeria often pretended to be princes in trouble to get your personal information."They not only would purchase the textbooks with compromised credit cards, but in most instances, within 48-72 hours from purchasing the textbooks, they would actually sell the textbooks back to the same textbook company online that they stole the books from.So essentially these textbooks companies were getting the merchandise stolen from 'em.
Once they were able to acquire those accounts, that in turn would become their infrastructure that they needed to be able to move their illicit proceeds," said Todd Williams.