THE Uyo Zonal Office of the Eonomic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Monday September 2, 2019, arrested six suspected internet fraudsters, who specialize in hacking into Facebook accounts of unsuspecting victims and defraud persons in the compromised accounts’ contact list.
They were arrested in a two-bedroom apartment, located on No. 54 Church Road, Off Calabar Itu Expressway, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, following intelligence report on their nefarious activities.
The all-male suspects are: Lawrence Nnamdi-Mba Ebesike; Prince E. Udeh; Chijioke Victor; Promise Odimba; Ugbor Ifeanyi and Prince Anthony, all within 22 and 29 years age bracket.
During interrogation, the suspects said the apartment which serve as their home and office was rented by their leader, Ebesike. They stated that they have only made about $4,000,00 (Four thousand United States Dollars) from cyber fraud.
Ebesike who claimed to be a musician with the stage name “Lawre Blue” confessed to the crime and gave a detailed account of how they carry out their operations on Facebook.
“I am into internet fraud. Part of how I operate is that I edit Facebook accounts, go to Google and search for pictures of United State military personnel. I download some of these pictures and put them on my fake Facebook accounts. After doing that, I target foreigners, mostly old white women who are in need of men. I stay online all day trying to befriend them. After convincing them, I will make them apply for my leave so that I can see them,” Ebesike confessed.
He further revealed that the syndicate has a US-based partner, named Benjamin Best, whom he said provides them with the account where their victims make payments into.
“After convincing my victims, Benjamin will provide an account for me to give them to pay the money into. He usually takes his commission before sending mine to me,” he said.
Ifeanyi, who was caught inside a wardrobe with his laptop is an undergraduate of Abia State University, said he was introduced to Ebesike by Udeh, who is one of the arrested suspects. According to Ifeanyi, “After hacking a Facebook account, I edit it to a white military man’s account and start adding many white women and gradually make them fall in love with me.
“After two weeks, I will tell them to apply for a vacation for me so that I can leave the camp and visit them. I also make them send me money. I have hacked one A. Harifat’s account and impersonated one T. Jesus,” he said.
Udeh, Victor, Odimba and Anthony equally gave similar accounts and that they were all trained by Ebesike. Anthony was caught while attempting to hide his laptop in the water cistern of their toilet.
Items recovered from them are: six laptops, 12 sophisticated mobile phones, one International Passport, four Airtel Sim packs, three MTN Sim packs, two Glo Sim packs and one Smile router and two internet modems.
They will be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.