By Frank Oshanugor
Operatives of the Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU) Ikoyi, Lagos have arrested one Ewere George Osas, a 62 year-old native of Edo State and his wife; for alleged offences bordering on Conspiracy, Cyber Fraud/Business e-mail Compromise, Criminal Conversion/Diversion and Stealing the sum of Fifty-One Million, Nine Hundred and Seventy-Four Thousand, Nine Hundred and Ninety-Nine Naira (N51,974,999.99).
It was learnt that the arrest followed a petition addressed to the Commissioner of Police, Police Special Fraud Unit by the Law Firm of Athan Ogbulie & Co. alleging diversion of the aforesaid sum during Inter-Bank wire transfer of the funds.
The suspect and members of the syndicate targeted and compromised the email accounts of businesses that frequently make wire payments and waited for the right time to substitute the original account that should receive the money.
According to the suspect, the hack which happened in February 2022 was achieved by spoofing the victim company’s email account/website which makes it possible to carry out slight variations to the legitimate email address of the company in order to fool the victim into thinking the fake accounts are authentic. Spear phishing emails were also sent to the company to gain access to company accounts, calendars and data.
According to SFU spokesman, Superintendent of Police Eyitayo Johnson, some of the monies which were diverted into accounts belonging to the suspect, his wife and daughter in five different Banks have been recovered as exhibit while effort was on to locate the rest of the funds and other members of the syndicate. Part of the money was also discovered to have been withdrawn via POS and ATM at different locations.
He added that the suspects will be charged to Court as soon as investigation was concluded.
Consequent upon this, the Commissioner of Police, Police Special Fraud Unit; Anyasinti Josephine Nneka has advised individuals and businesses to take  precautions in order to mitigate against BEC in various ways like information shared online (e.g. pet names, birthday, etc).
She has further advised that  people should not  click on anything in an unsolicited email/sms asking to update or verify account information.
The police boss also urged members of the public to carefully examine the email address, URL, and spelling used in any correspondence.
“Set up two factor (or multi-factor) authentication on any account that allows it.
Be careful what you download. Never open an email attachment from someone you do not know, she advised.
Above all, they should verify payment and purchase requests in person, if possible; or by calling the person to make sure it is legitimate.”

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