Cybercrime: EFCC declares Lekki hotbed, arrests 402 suspects in 3 months

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has declared the Lekki area of Lagos a cybercrime hotbed.

EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren in a statement said this followed data from investigation activities of the Lagos Command in the second quarter of 2021.

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.

The Advance Fee Fraud Section was responsible for 243 arrests while the Cyber Crime Section executed 18 sting operations which resulted in 159 arrests; 13 convictions have been recorded.

The agency confirmed that of 159 suspects arrested by the Cyber Crime Section, 70 were from Lekki, comprising 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.

Neighbouring Ikoyi and Eko Atlantic had 2 and 1 suspect each. Ikorodu and Alagbado on the Lagos Mainland make up the remainder.

The suspects are mostly millennials, with 82 aged between 25-34 years. Individuals arrested are either still in school, recent graduates or university dropouts.

The data from the Cyber Crime Section further shows that the dominant form of internet crime is Dating Scam/Online Dating Scam/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 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.

Gift cards, at 39%, was detected 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%.

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

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