In collaboration with Europol

The National Police detains the head of a Nigerian criminal group specialized in CEO fraud

The agents have arrested at the airport of Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez its main member, a woman of Nigerian origin of 44 years, for crimes of fraud and money laundering and, in addition, have resolved a scam denounced in the amount of 122,000 euros

With the fraud of the CEO, also known as Spear Phishing or Business Email Compromise, the fraudster gets control of communications to pose as the head of a company and, with enough deception, ordering important monetary transactions to malicious bank accounts

June 28, 2019.- Agents of the National Police, in collaboration with Europol, have arrested the head of a Nigerian criminal group specializing in CEO fraud. The arrest of the woman, of Nigerian origin and of 44 years of age, took place at the Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez airport, for crimes of fraud and money laundering. In addition, the agents have resolved a scam reported for the amount of 122,000 euros. With this type of fraud, also known as Spear Phishing or Business Email Compromise, the fraudster gets control of communications to pose as the head of a company and, with enough deception, ordering important monetary transactions to malicious bank accounts.

The investigation began in November 2018 when, through Europol's official dissemination channels, a complaint was received from a Dutch company that revealed the existence of a criminal group specialized in the fraud of the CEO.

The Dutch company denounced a fraud in which the fraudsters passed themselves off as a partner of maximum confidence. In this way, they managed to get the company to transfer a significant amount of money to a bank account controlled by the person now detained. This quickly had to split it into several transactions of lower amount to other accounts, also controlled by the organization, to achieve the double effect of money laundering and hinder its traceability.

Modus operandi

This type of crime is used by technological scammers. Its objectives are members of the Administration Department, CEOs and customers of SMEs and large companies with global projection, used to manage, move and transfer large amounts of money. In most cases, the scam is based on the application of malicious software that, together with sophisticated techniques of social engineering, allows the control and espionage of company communications of the victim's interlocutors.

It usually begins with the sending of an apparently normal (legitimate) email to a corporate email, or business environment, whereby the receiver is invited: either to open an attachment, in which case there are notifications of the style "pending delivery" "Or" invoice ", which contains malware; OK to click on a link to a web page with malicious content; or to click on a link that redirects to an online form through which it is requested, with a credible excuse (for example, updating the web mail), sensitive information such as the passwords of the email in question.

Once the mail password has been obtained, the scammer has access to it without raising suspicions. As of that moment, it requests its banking entities, or the companies with which it has commercial agreements, the execution of transfers or the payment of invoices. In addition, access to the email account of its victims allows it to obtain personal, commercial or corporate information of the violated users.

A scam of 122,000 euros resolved

The investigation has allowed to block 9 bank accounts judicially. In addition, the scam denounced has been resolved for an amount of 122,000 euros and has been avoided, with the arrest of the principal investigated, that the money defrauded reached higher figures.

Proceedings are continued on the international stage, in collaboration with the security forces of other countries involved, to secure the arrest of the employees of the arrested person, who operate from abroad by electronically controlling the communications of their victims.



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