You hear from us fairly often about imposter scams. In recent months, we’ve told you about IRS imposters, romance scams, and work-at-home scams. We always give you tips on how to spot and avoid these scams. We tell you about the cases we’ve brought to shut down the scammers. But, as a civil law enforcement agency, we don’t often get to tell you about the criminal charges brought against the scammers. Until today.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced the extradition of six Nigerian nationals from South Africa to Mississippi to face a nine-count federal indictment for various Internet frauds. These six people join 15 others who were previously charged with, among other things, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, identity theft, and money laundering.
What were the scams? According to the indictment, the defendants found and reached out to their potential victims through online dating websites and work-at-home opportunities. In some cases, they carried on so-called romantic relationships with their targets, trying to get their victims to do things like re-ship merchandise purchased with stolen credit cards, deposit counterfeit checks, and send money to the defendants – whether via wiring money or sending prepaid debit cards.
Here’s where you come in. If you know someone who lost money or information to romance, reshipping, fake check, or work-at-home scammers, please tell them to visit DOJ’s announcement. Why? Because there’s a list of aliases and email addresses that the defendants allegedly used in carrying out these scams. If you recognize a name or email address, you could help in the investigation of these crimes.
It’s not every day you get to help lock up alleged bad guys. Unless, of course, you work at the Department of Justice, the US Postal Inspection Service, or Homeland Security Investigations – all of which had a hand in this case. Please check out the list and see if you might have information to share with the investigators.