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Nigerian fraud fighters close down 800 scam email addresses

Nigerian officials say that they have closed 800 scam websites and arrested members of 18 crime syndicates making money by fraudulent means.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission teamed up with Microsoft three years ago to help stop the practice of scamming foreigners out of money, usually by pretending that there was easy profits to be made by helping a victim of misfortune transfer millions of pounds out of Nigeria, Sierra Leone or another country. EFCC chairman Farida Waziri said the ambition of the partnership with Microsoft was to shut down as many as 5,000 email addresses each month and take Nigeria out of the top ten sources of scam emails. The body also plans to warn potential victims in advisory emails.

The EFCC mission statement seems to have taken a cue from some of the rather grandiose language used in Nigerian fraudster emails, saying that the Lagos-based organisation exists to "curb the menace of the corruption that constitutes the cog in the wheel of progress" and that it will "imbue the spirit of hard work in the citizenry and discourage ill-gotten wealth".

Its campaign to halt fraud is called Operation Eagle Claw -- the same name as was given to the US military's 1980 mission to free 52 hostages in the US embassy in Tehran. That operation failed and resulted in the deaths of eight US servicemen.

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