The Economic Financial Crimes Commission has arrested 402 residents of Lekki and adjoining areas in Lagos State for romance scam and other internet-related frauds.

This was disclosed from the investigation activities of the Lagos Command in the second quarter of 2021.

File photo used to illustrate story.

EFCC Spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said the 402 arrests recorded between April and June, 2021, were done by the Advance Fee Fraud and Cyber Crime Section of the Command.

The Advance Fee Fraud Section only, was responsible for 243 arrests while the Cyber Crime Section carried out 18 sting operations.

The operation led to 159 arrests and 13 convictions were recorded.

The agency further confirmed that out of the 159 suspects arrested by the Cyber Crime Section, 70 of them were from Lekki including areas such as Ajah, Badore, Victoria Garden City (VGC), Sangotedo and Oniru.

Ajah accounted for 24 suspects, while Oniru and Sangotedo had 14 and 13 suspects respectively. Badore had 8 suspects.

Also the neighbouring Ikoyi and Eko Atlantic had two and one suspect each. Ikorodu and Alagbado on the Lagos Mainland make up the remainder.

Most of the criminals, specifically 82, were between the ages of 25-34 years.

Other individuals arrested are either students, fresh graduates or university dropouts.

Most of the cybercrimes were dominantly in the form of dating scam, online dating scam and romance scam.

“64% of individuals arrested are involved in romance scam, followed closely by “Middle Man Scam” and “Picking” which account for 8% and 7% respectively of those arrested.

“The 64% involved in the dating scam benefitted to the tune of N8, 310,000; $349,290 USD; £900; €10 and Cryptocurrency 0.17513”, Uwujaren noted.

Other forms of fraud identified included forgery, possession of fraudulent documents, spamming, credit card fraud, impersonation, rental scam, loan fraud, business email compromise, hacking, stealing, cheque scam, phishing, and money laundering.

Gift cards, at 39%, were detected as the prevalent method employed by the suspects to access their illicit funds. It is followed by bank transfers at 27% and crypto-currency at 21%.

Also within the second quarter, a total of $12,512 was recovered from the e-wallet accounts of four suspects.

 

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