Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global
network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centers, have reminded
internet users to be on their guard against email scams as news
breaks of a series of arrests in The Netherlands.
Dutch police have arrested 12 Nigerians suspected of being part
of a gang who conned more than $2 million from unsuspecting
Americans in an email scam designed to trick people into investing
in non-existent money-making schemes.
According to a police statement, the gang sent more than 100,000
emails to potential victims, enticing them to hand over money
Authorities detained the dozen suspects following police raids
in Amsterdam and Zaandam, seizing computers, bank statements,
forged passports and 25,000 Euros in cash.
"Many email users will be used to receiving dodgy sounding
business propositions in their inbox, promising them a fortune.
These schemes, however, only make money for the criminals behind
them," said Graham
Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Everyone
needs to be careful not to fall for this kind of confidence trick,
or they could find themselves penniless."
The con-trick, commonly known as a 419 scam, is named after the
relevant section of the Nigerian penal code where many of the scams
originated and are unsolicited emails where the author offers a
large amount of money. Once a victim has been drawn in, requests
are made from the fraudster for private information which may lead
to requests for money, stolen identities, and financial theft.
The four principal suspects will face extradition charges to
bring them to the United States. The other eight are expected to
stand trial in The Netherlands.
Sophos recommends that businesses protect themselves with a
consolidated solution which can defend
against the threats of spam, spyware and viruses; and that users
exercise caution when receiving unsolicited emails.