USA: Nigerian Confraternities are E-Mail Threats

Hua Mulan

Staff member–-Nigerian-Confraterniti/40054

Business email compromise (BEC) is a form of fraud by which a team of cybercriminals convince victims to wire large amounts of funds or send valuable data to criminally controlled accounts; it is facilitated by the victim’s belief that they are actually being asked or instructed to do so by a trusted party.

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), BEC occurs when “a criminal compromises legitimate business email accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques to conduct unauthorized transfers of funds”.

In 2016, the IC3 received 12,005 BEC complaints amounting to losses of more than $360 million USD.

There have been multiple open-source reports describing how money stolen through BEC fraud is directed to bank accounts in China, particularly Hong Kong. The IC3 has tracked fraudulent bank transfers to 72 countries and it has determined that the majority go to banks in China and Hong Kong.

As eCrime has evolved over the past decade and become a global issue costing companies and individuals billions of dollars, prolific Nigerian cybercriminals have evolved, too.

They have moved to BEC scams, which are much more sophisticated than advanced-fee fraud (also called 419 fraud).

Industry reporting shows that BEC has been perpetrated by Nigerian groups or individuals and that the tools are readily available. (Trend Micro, “Cybercrime in West Africa”, 2017, https://documents.trendmicro[.]com/assets/wp/wp-cybercrime-in-westafrica. Pdf)


The Neo Black Movement (NBM) was founded in 1977 at the University of Benin, Nigeria. NBM claims that it is an officially registered organization in Nigeria, however it is widely considered to be one and the same as the Black Axe confraternity, and both have been banned by law. Since its foundation, Black Axe has developed into a formidable criminal organization and has developed a hierarchical, inter-state organization while at the same time retaining cult-like tendencies.

Black Axe gangs are involved in a multitude of organized crime ventures such as running prostitution rings, human trafficking, narcotics trafficking, grand theft, money laundering, and email fraud/cybercrime. These activities primarily take place in Nigeria, and they also are conducted by Black Axe members (known as Axemen) in Europe and North America.

Black Axe maintains a hierarchical command structure at the national level, and it also operates Black Axe “Zones” (also pyramidal in structure) in foreign locations. Arrests of criminals in Canada in 2015 revealed that the Black Axe zone for Canada is heavily involved in wire fraud, money laundering, romance scams, and BEC.

U.S. law enforcement arrested several Nigerian criminals on BEC fraud over the past few years, and Canadian and Italian law enforcement agencies have had limited success confronting and dealing with the Black Axe zones in their respective countries. Yet the magnitude of this criminal threat has only recently begun to be understood. As such, the threat posed by Black Axe and similar groups will remain high for the foreseeable future, and BEC will remain an effective eCrime technique in the near to midterm......

De Master Yoda

Staff member
The authorities really need to allocate sufficient funds to effectively combat this type of crime.

"As eCrime has evolved over the past decade and become a global issue costing companies and individuals billions of dollars" It would be logical to spend a few Million to save Billions, however this simple fact seems to bypass the authorities.


Na Frustrate Go Kill All Diss Phools?
It is the same-ole same-ole "Its not my juris-dick-tion issue". Or the dollar amounts are too small on a per case basis to be viewed as a felony crime.