BREAKING: Treasury sanctions Nigerian cyber actors for targeting US businesses and individuals

In a coordinated action with the US. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has taken action against six Nigerian nationals for coin dying an elaborate scheme to steal over six million dollars from victims across the United States.

Mouthpiece NGR gathered that the victims targeted U.S. businesses and individuals through deceptive global threats known as business email compromise (BEC) and romance fraud. 

The statement said American citizens lost over $6,000,000 due to these individuals’ BEC fraud schemes, in which they impersonated business executives and requested and received wire transfers from legitimate business accounts. 

Money was also stolen from innocent Americans by romance fraud, in which the designees masqueraded as affectionate partners to gain trust from victims.

“Cybercriminals prey on vulnerable Americans and small businesses to deceive and defraud them,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “As technological advancement increasingly offers malicious actors tools that can be used for online attacks and schemes, the United States will continue to protect and defend at-risk Americans and businesses.”

Malicious actors are exploiting the increased availability of online tools and technology to target at-risk Americans. 

The six individuals designated today manipulated their victims in order to gain access to usernames, passwords, and bank accounts in furtherance of the scheme. Several of those who engaged in romance fraud used online tools, including social media and email, to further their social engineering tactics.

OFAC closely coordinated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which today released details regarding its indictment against members of the conspiracy. The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) receives romance fraud victim reports from all ages, education, and income brackets. However, the elderly, women, and those who have lost a spouse are often targeted.

E.O. 13694 SANCTIONS

Today’s action includes the designation of six individuals pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13694, as amended by E.O. 13757, which targets malicious cyber-enabled activities, including those related to the significant misappropriation of funds or economic resources for private financial gain.

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons that are in the possession or control of U.S. persons or within or transiting the United States are blocked, and U.S. persons generally are prohibited from dealing with them.(treasurygov)

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