A syndicate in Nigeria has been uncovered by police, who have arrested two members. The syndicate specialised in hacking into bank customers’ portals to commit financial crimes. The police were able to track down the two suspects, and have also recovered SIM cards used to withdraw money from victims’ accounts. The suspects admitted to having access codes of two old-generation banks, and claimed to have moved money from over 1,000 bank customers’ accounts. The police are now working to arrest the other members of the syndicate, while investigations continue.
Over 1000 customers’ bank accounts have been defrauded across Nigeria, according to members of a syndicate that specialized in hacking into bank customers’ portals to commit financial crimes.
The syndicate which devices its means to have access and steal from the accounts of unsuspecting Nigerians, was recently uncovered by operatives of the Lagos State Police Zone 2 Command, Onikan, Lagos, when it apprehended two of the syndicates members.
The Police said it was able to carryout investigations which led to the arrest of the two suspects after a petition was submitted by one of the affected old-generation banks two months ago.
Upon receiving the petition, the Police said a team of detectives from the Zonal Monitoring Unit swung into action and with the use of technology, succeeded in tracking down two suspects who are currently in Police custody.
The Police said it has also recovered from the two suspected members of the syndicate, SIM cards with which monies were withdrawn from victims’ accounts.
The suspects have however been identified as Yusuf Ademola (40) and Adeshina Abiodun (50).
Both suspects who were arrested in their hideout in the Ijebu-Ode area of Ogun State confessed that they had succeeded in moving money from no fewer than 1,000 bank customers’ accounts.
According to them, members of the syndicate, were spread all over the country and were very coordinated.
The suspects said some of them are specialised in collating SIM cards and that when they’re able to collate enough SIM cards from stolen phones, from one state, they would pass them to another team that would sort out the victims’ banks, before transferring them to their members in other states.
The recipients would then use the bank’s code to get the victim’s other details that would enable them to withdraw money electronically.
It was further gathered that they disclosed having access codes of two old-generation banks whose names are currently being withheld.
In a statement, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of the zone, AIG Mohammed Ali who explained that the arrest followed a petition submitted by one of the old-generation banks two months ago, said, “Based on the petition, a team of detectives from the Zonal Monitoring Unit swung into action and with the use of technology, they succeeded in tracking down two suspects.
“They confessed that they have many syndicates all over Nigeria, which use software to enter bank portal to access customers accounts to move their money. However, their modus operandi was to have a customer link phone number to a BVN and steal their money.
“Subsequently, over 1000 customers’ accounts have been defrauded all over Nigeria. Further investigation into the incident revealed that members of the syndicate were drawn from different parts of the country. Efforts are on top gear to arrest the fleeing suspects while investigation is in progress.”
Meanwhile, one of the suspects, Ademola, during interrogation claimed he was a mere errand boy to the syndicate.
He said: “One of my friends in Kano State gave me a telephone number to help him open an account in an old generation bank. I knew him in Kano when I was serving in Nasarawa State.
“I called Adeshina (pointing to the second suspect) to open an account with the phone number. But he said he already had an account with the bank. All he did was to go back to the bank to change the phone number, after which I informed my friend in Kano that an account had been opened with the telephone number he gave me.
“After one hour, he sent me N1.2 million, out of which I gave Adeshina N500,000. I don’t know how he did it. But I knew he was a yahoo guy (internet fraudster). He only told me the money was the fee for opening an account with the number he gave me.
“So far, I have opened three different accounts for my friend in Kano. He gave me N20,000 the first time, N300,000 the second time and this is the third time.
“The Police arrested Adesina first and he brought them to my house, after he told them I was the one that gave him the telephone number.”
On his part, Adeshina admitted to having replaced the telephone number in his account with the one given to him by Ademola.
He said: “I agreed to change the number because he said someone wanted to use the bank account. This was done six months ago. But the Police tracked me with the number on the account.”