Lekki, a fast-developing upper-middle-class area of Lagos Metropolis, is emerging as the new hub of internet-related fraud, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said on Friday.
Data from the investigation activities of the Lagos Command of the anti-graft agency for the second quarter of 2021 indicates that the area is the preferred location for all manner of cyber fraud syndicates.
“Between April and June 2021, the Advance Fee Fraud and Cyber Crime Sections of the Command recorded a total of 402 internet-related fraud arrests,” EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said.
“While the Advance Fee Fraud Section was responsible for 243 arrests, the Cyber Crime Section executed 18 sting operations which resulted in 159 arrests, from which 13 convictions have so far been recorded.
“Of the 159 suspects arrested by the Cyber Crime Section, 70 are from Lekki, comprising communities such as Ajah, Badore, Victoria Garden City, Sangotedo and Oniru.”
A breakdown of the figure showed that Ajah accounted for 24 suspects, while Oniru and Sangotedo had 14 and 13 suspects respectively.
Similarly, Badore had eight suspects and neighbouring Ikoyi and Eko Atlantic had two suspects and one suspect respectively. Ikorodu and Alagbado on the Lagos Mainland make up the remainder.
According to Uwujaren, the suspects are mostly millennials, with 82 of them aged between 25-34 years – who are either still in school, recent graduates, or university dropouts.
“Analysis of the data from the Cyber Crime Section further shows that the dominant form of internet crime is dating scam/online dating scam/romance scam. Sixty-four per cent of individuals arrested are involved in romance scam, followed closely by ‘middleman scam’ and ‘picking’ which account for eight per cent and seven per cent 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,” the EFCC spokesman added.
“Other typologies of fraud identified include 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.
“The data also reveals gift cards, at 39%, as the prevalent method employed by the suspects to access their illicit funds. It is followed by bank transfers at 27% and cryptocurrency at 21%.”
A total of $12, 512.49USD was recovered from the e-wallet accounts of four suspects within the period, Uwujaren revealed.