Nigeria moves to shut down spam scam

A man thought to be behind one of the world's biggest spam rings has been arrested by Nigerian authorities in Lagos.

More than 50 suspects are awaiting trial on similar charges following an international police operation.

The arrested man is suspected of running a twelve person spam scamming operation that was broken up by Dutch police last month. The gang were sending out 419 letters, emails offering the recipient a share in the profits of a money transfer.

According to the Dutch ANP news agency, the group sent up to 140,000 e-mails per week. Although only a small percentage of recipients fall for the letters the scams still pull in millions each year.

"Nigeria is a major hub for this kind of criminal activity, and it's good to see the authorities making arrests there even though the victims may be as far away as the United States, UK or Australia," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.

"Millions of computer users around the world see these bogus emails in their inboxes every day, claiming to offer fortunes in the form of fake lottery wins or inheritances to the unwary. These emails aren't sent for fun - they really do work, and people are falling for the confidence trick all the time and ending up with their bank accounts raided."

The arrest shows the increasingly co-ordinated approach that police internationally are now taking to cut losses to 419 scams. London's Metropolitan police have joined with others to report scams and find those running them.

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