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Digital Identity, Security & Online Fraud

Operation Rewired arrests 281 people over money-transfer frauds

Friday 13 September 2019 | 12:39 PM CET

An operation conducted by FBI, called Operation Rewired, has led to the arrest of 281 people, in 10 countries, suspected of carrying out large-scale money-transfer frauds.

The FBI co-ordinated the raids over several months against groups of people suspected of stealing millions of pounds from companies and individuals. Almost USD 3.7 million in cash had been seized during the raids, said the FBI. Evidence gathered from the law enforcement operation should lead to another USD 118 million being seized, it added.

The global campaign, Operation Rewired, saw raids in the US, UK, Nigeria, Turkey, Ghana, France, Italy, Japan, Kenya and Malaysia over the past four months.

Of those arrested, 167 were from Nigeria.

The fraud involves tricking victims into wiring money to bank accounts controlled by fraudsters. The scam, which it calls Business Email Compromise (BEC), had led to losses of more than USD 26 billion globally since 2016, the FBI's Internet Complaint Crime Centre said.

The FBI urged anyone handling money transfer requests that arrived by email to take extra time to verify the identity of the sender and that the request was genuine.

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