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Nigerian national arrested in email fraud case in KANNUR

A Nigerian national was arrested here on Saturday in connection with an investigation into a case of email fraud that cost its victim here huge sum of money.

The 34-year old Nigerian, identified as Shaba Abdul Razak, was arrested by the police here at the end of a month-long probe into what is commonly referred to as ’419 scam’ or Nigerian email scam following a complaint from its victim hailing from Valapattanam here. The police here were still to ascertain whether the name found on his ID card was his real name. Disclosing the arrest of the Nigerian national, Inspector General of Police (Kannur Range) Tomin J. Thachankary saidthat the arrest followed an elaborate investigation with the co-operation of police officials in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry. The investigation also revealed that more people had fallen prey to thefraud by Nigerian racket in which the arrested was a member, he said, adding that the racket had fraudulently extracted an estimated Rs. 3 crore from its victims who hail from these States.

Mr. Thanchankary said that the police unravelled the email scam after Shareef, the victim, who had been working in Qutar, sent a complaint to Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan about his loss of huge amount after he was duped by the racket. The Home Minister had forwarded the complaint to the Cyber wing of the police. The Valapattanam police had registered the case and started investigation.

The scam had had its origin in an email message that Shareef had received in February 2008. The message sent from a mail ID purportedly from Bank of Africa had informed that Shareef had been selected as nominee to inherit a rich fortune ($15 million) left by a millionaire, the IG said. After a few exchange of emails, Shareef had been asked to go to the African city Burkina Faso to receive the fortune. When he had replied his inability to go there, he got a reply informing that a financial attorney had been appointed for overseeing the transfer of the amount. Shareef had also been asked to send 29,500 euro through Western Union Money Transfer as fee for the attorney, Mr. Thachankary said.

The IG said that Shareef had sent total 80,000 euro in response to requests from time to time by the Nigerian fraudsters for more money citing various excuses. Two members of the racket including the arrested had come to the victim’s house with a few bundles of blackened US dollars and said that the currency was blackened to avoid being found out by Customs officials. They also demanded more money from Shareef to purchase chemicals to clean the currency.

Following the complaint from Shareef, the police set a trap for the racket operating in the country. The Nigerian had been nabbed by the police in Bangalore and brought here, the IG said. He said that most of those who had fallen prey to the racket, as found from the email account accessed by the police, were not willing to lodge complaints about their being duped.

He also said that the amount transferred through the Western Union Money Transfer had been withdrawn in minutes by the fraudsters. The police, however, succeeded to freeze some of the money transferred by Shareef. The Nigerian scam racket often send computer viruses to victims’ computers to extract information about them and their contacts, he said. He also said that many Nigerians living in Mumbai and New Delhi were suspected to have been members of the fraudster racket. They also use their Indian associates to open bank accounts. As soon as they reached India, they use fake passports and ID cards, he added.

Source: The Hindu


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