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Nigeria still ranks high in email fraud

Nigeria , 17 Aug 2015

Nigeria still ranks high in email fraud

According to the latest Kaspersky report (Q2, 2015) on spamming and phishing, Nigerian spammers are included in a list of attackers who used world events to lure vulnerable users into sharing personal details.

"Although the percentage of spam in email traffic decreased by 5.8 percentage points from the previous quarter (from 59.2% to 53.4%), Q2 2015 saw a marked increase in the use of world events in spam emails," the report said.

Even in Nigeria, spam activities were high during the presidential elections during which recipients were told they could get US$2 million, which the elected President was ready to send as compensation.

"Additional mailings included fraudulent notifications of lottery wins for tickets to watch the Olympic Games in Brazil, 2016, in an attempt to persuade recipients to provide fraudsters with personal data to receive their 'win'," the report found.

The report noted that most "Nigerian" letters originated from free email accounts such as yahoo and Gmail, even though the author was representing an organisation. However, some fraudsters tried to make the name and address of the sender look more legitimate.

"To protect themselves, users should not open emails from unknown senders and remember not to click links in these emails, or open any attachments. With some fraudsters trying to make the name and address of the sender look more legitimate, this is more important than ever," said Tatyana Shcherbakova, antispam analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

Nigeria is known for its notorious email scams across the globe. Many Nigerian fraudsters have been arrested all over the globe for executing what is called the 419 scams. The scams trick users into believing they have won something, but are required to send an upfront processing fee.

In May this year, a Nigerian man was sentenced to three years in jail in the US after he was accused of fraudulently obtaining US$1 million from conning office suppliers.

"The scheme employed "phishing" attacks, which used fraudulent e-mails and websites that mimicked the legitimate e-mails and web pages of U.S. government agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Employees of those agencies visited the fake web pages and provided their e-mail account usernames and passwords," the FBI said after the arrest.

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