Internet Fraud Advisory

CURBING CYBER GUERRILLAS

Most people agree that cyber crime has eaten deep into the fabric of the Nigerian Society; it is common to hear about the “Nigerian Scam”– a phrase that derives from the assumption that most scam emails originate from Nigeria or Nigerians.
This problem is not unique to Nigeria alone as there are several miscreants online ready to swamp or rip people of their possessions though the Nigerian type (or case) attracts special attention and indeed noteworthy.

Despite the efforts the Government of Nigeria in combating the scourge, Cyber Crime continues to grow by leaps and bounds. The perpetrators of the Internet frauds popularly called “Yahoo, Yahoo boys,” are misusing the myriad opportunities the Internet brings. Internet fraud does not just involve 419, but also the use of the Internet to commit crimes, such as e-mail scams, hacking, distribution of hostile software (viruses and worms,) denial of service attacks, theft of data, extortion, fraud, and impersonation.
A report recently published by the Institute of Digital Communications, a market research and forecasting firm, based in South Africa, revealed that Nigeria is losing about $80million (N11.2billion) annually to software piracy.

Up till 2020, some of the transactions initiated online by Nigeria-based consumers using International debit credit cards are deliberately rejected by International merchants.
Recent reports reveal that the International merchants have built automatic alerts into their online processing to reject Nigerian transactions. They specifically target for rejection mailing and shipping address addresses that character showing cards issued in Nigeria.

As way of combating the crime, the Federal Government in 2004, established the Nigeria Cyber working group, which is an Inter-agency body made up of all key law enforcement, security intelligence, ICT agencies of government and major private organizations in the ICT sector. Some of these agencies include the Economic and Financial crimes commission,(EFCC), Nigeria Police Force,(NPF), Pffoce of the National Security Adviser, the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) Department of State Security Services, (SSS), National Intelligence Agency, (NIA), Nigeria Computer Society, (NCS), Nigeria Internet group (NIG), Internet Services Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPA) and the National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITD) amongst others.

The efforts of the Government, including the arrest of some “Cyber criminals”, raids on cyber cafes in the county by the EFCC and the police, could have helped in reducing the crime, except that the current laws against it are outdated. The two bills before the National Assembly, the information technology bill 2004, which has a section (Part IV) on cyber crime and Computer Security and critical Information Infrastructure Protection bill 2005, which comes with the promise of addressing this ill have not been passed since they were initiated. The Coordinator of the NCWG, Mr. Basil Udotal said the most serious sanctions the laws stipulate are reprimand and discipline whereas the specific laws are required to establish online criminal penalties.

“If the law is passed, there is no doubt that it would boost not just security and confidentiality of our online systems and processes but, also it may pave way for the Integration of Nigeria into the global e-commerce as a trusted key player.”
Aside from the Law, there is also the argument that the scammers are mostly from other countries, only using the Nigerian names and addresses as a cover up.
The Press in Nigeria has gathered that some of the information used by spammers is given to them by some of their collaborators from outside the country.
An ICT expert, Mr. Jide Awe, said in a Paper on the information security that security agencies must be equipped with the skills, the technical know and the insight and the Insight necessary to fight cyber crime effectively.

One of the Directors of an ICT firm in Lagos says,” I believe that we still need to concentrate on the local card so that we can develop local capacity. The depth of knowledge is still quite shallow and quite frustrating.”
He further said that mishandling of enforcement could back fire, saying a situation where genuine users of the Internet are frustrated and unable to benefit from the facility should create.

“Enforcement can only work if it avoids harassment, abuse of privacy and extortion. In today’s world, computing tools and the Internet are used to effectively promote social development and business growth. Strategies must strike a balance between security concerns and other developmental needs,” he said.
A note of warning! If you ever receive anonymous e-mail offering you lottery cash, government money, stolen or deceased funds, or anything along those lines, please avoid it…and report immediately to any authorized security personnel. Never part with confidential information such as credit card information on in-secure websites.
But it is good to note here that there are always two sides to a crime. When there is a convert there must always be converters, wherever there is a left there must needs be a right. Most people who fall victim of these events most definitely are collaborators with this type of crime.
Please should you have any suspicion concerning any fraudulent dealing relating to the Nigerian context here are a list of sites you can contact:

1. EFCC

2. NCC

3. NIG

4. NITDA

Common Fraud Types:
-Email scams
-Hacking
-Distribution of hostile software
(Viruses and worms)
-Denial of service attacks,
-Theft of data
-Extortion
-Fraud and impersonation
-Social Engineering/Romance Scams

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This content was originally written and published in 2008, and republished in July, 2020. All rights reserved, TOBIMICHIGAN.com