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74 People Arrested in Global Email Scam
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Summary: The FBI said that 74 individuals were arrested for a global email fraud scheme. 

On Monday, the FBI arrested 74 people from around the world who had attempted to scam billions of dollars from businesses and individuals. According to Reuters, “The cases involve a growing type of fraud known as “business email compromise” that targets employees with access to corporate finances. The fraudsters send emails that appear to be from trusted corporate executives or vendors, which instruct targeted employees to wire funds to accounts controlled by criminals.”


The group who was arrested allegedly ran numerous scams, targetting everyone from the elderly to real-estate buyers. The sting operation went on for six months and was called Operation Wire Wire. According to Reuters, $2.4 million was seized and $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers was recovered.

“The devastating effects these cases have on victims and victim companies, affect not only the individual business but also the global economy,” authorities said.

The majority of those arrested were in the United States. 42 people were American and 29 were from Nigeria. The others hailed from Canada, Mauritius and Poland.

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The US authorities said that email scams are “prevalent” and that they would continue to crack down on people, no matter where they lived, according to the BBC. The arrested were targetted because they sent emails that asked for money transfers under false pretenses. For instance, the scammer would pretend to be another business.

The sting was funded by the FBI, which is led by FBI Director Christopher Wray. The Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Treasury, and the Postal Inspection Service conducted the arrests.

“This operation demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to disrupt and dismantle criminal enterprises that target American citizens and their businesses,” Wray said.

The FBI said that almost $4 billion has been lost since they began tracking the scams through the Internet Crime Complaint Center. According to Wired, “Email scamming has gone mostly unchecked for years, but Operation Wire Wire still represents a small drop in a massive ocean of fraud. And while it particularly targets some of the money mules who underpin criminal payouts, the overall infrastructure behind these spamming campaigns is massive and inveterate. It would take major disruption to see a noticeable improvement.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the DOJ would continue prosecuting money mules, people who transfer money acquired illegally.

“Fraudsters can rob people of their life’s savings in a matter of minutes,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “The Department of Justice has taken aggressive action against fraudsters in recent months…[and] we will continue to go on offense against fraudsters so that the American people can have safety and peace of mind.”

What do you think of Operation Wire Wire?


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