Tech

‘Nigerian Prince’ Email Scammers Exposed

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Kyle Perisic Contributor

The scammers behind the infamous “Nigerian Prince” emails that trick some unsuspecting victims into giving up their credit card information have been exposed, an email protection group announced Tuesday.

The email protection group, Agari, announced in a press release Tuesday key findings of their report. It’s mostly Nigerian-based scammers targeting American businesses, according to the report.

Agari analyzed 59,652 unique email messages from 78 email accounts that belonged to 10 criminal organizations over the course of the past 10 months for the report.

“Nine of the 10 captured organized crime groups operate out of Nigeria, they all leverage a multitude of attack methods, and business email compromise (BEC) is far more lucrative than any other attack,” Agari said in the press release.

American businesses lost $675 million from BEC scams in 2017, according to the FBI’s IC3 “2017 Internet Crime Report.” That’s a 300 percent increase from the $215 million they lost in 2014.

“While much of the high-profile attention paid to email security has focused on nation state actors, the reality is that American businesses are far more likely to be attacked by BEC scammers operating from Africa,” said Agari founder and Executive Chairman Patrick Peterson. “The sad irony is that these foreign adversaries are using our own legitimate infrastructure against us in attacks that are far more damaging and much harder to detect than any intrusion or malware.”

BEC is the most popular and most effective attack, the report shows. BEC accounted for 24 percent of all the attacks “BEC attacks are ten times more likely to produce a victim if the target answers an initial probe, with 3.97 victims per 100 answered probes,” according to Agari. (RELATED: FCC Issues $120M Fine To The Man Behind Some Of Those Annoying Robocalls)

The report also tells the story of a Florida woman who was scammed out of $500,000. She exchanged more than 1,500 emails over six years with a man she believed was an expatriate living in Dubai. After refinancing it to pay the fraudulent requests, she was forced to put her home up for sale in May 2017.

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