Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A 2008 report by the Internet Crime Complaint Center, which is a partnership between the FBI and America's National White Collar Crime Center, revealed the top 10 countries of cyber crime perpetrators. They are

  1. United States of America (66%)
  2. United Kingdom (10%)
  3. Nigeria (7%)
  4. Canada (3%)
  5. China (1%)
  6. South Africa (1%)
  7. Ghana (1%)
  8. Spain (1%)
  9. Italy (.5%)
  10. Romania (.5%)

Now, it is rather eye opening that Nigeria came in third at 7% but the average individual, almost anywhere in the world, would assume that Nigeria would be the key location for cyber crime perpetrators. It is also interesting that the USA came in first with 66%. Being that it has a clear majority on cyber crime, why is there even a category designated to Nigeria on the FBI's list of internet scams called Nigerian letter scams?
This disconnect between the reality of cyber crime and the misconceived perceptions of cyber crime highlight the need for more positive P.R. for Nigeria. The country's federal government is in one of the best positions to highlight and challenge such misconceptions. Hopefully, it will do so, or at least take full advantage of some of the recommendations here and elsewhere so as to allow others to do this for the country.

Nonetheless, this new report is not an excuse for Nigerian authorities to slack on finding and punishing those who commit cyber crime and all crime, in general. The percentage of cyber crime perpetrators should go down, what with the continued arrests and prosecution of various individuals for online scams such as Lawal Nurudeen who managed to defraud an Australian of $47,000.

Hattip to Webround, the master at discovering the most interesting and quirky tidbits about everything.

UPDATE: Thanks to reader AL of Agegelabs who noted "the report is specific to the US only. 93% of complainants came from the US. Hence no surprise with the 66% US number." Hopefully that will add some more context to the report and the ensuing discussion below.

UPDATE (6/9/09): Please listen to Fatima Bukar's fun podcast. She made it after reading this post and it really gives you a sense of one person's response to this Cyber Crime report. She also shares her experience at an airport because of her nationality, and shares what it is like to be a Nigerian seeking a credit card in Australia. Very enlightening.

Related Articles of Interest:
- Microsoft, Nigeria & Cyber Crime
- Nigeria's Internet Future
- Number One Regional Telecom Market
- 2009: The Year of African Broadband
- Nigeria Is Home To The World's Largest Cyber Cafe

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27 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Akin said...

Hello SolomonS,

This is a most interesting piece of statistics, but it reflects a clear intention of tarnishing others to make "ourselves" better on the part of publishers using the media to obfuscate the truth.

How this differs from rubbishing Colombia, Mexico & Afghanistan for drugs when the drug problem is in the consumption markets of the West is not much.

It is also indicative of arresting the drug mules whilst the barons and the addicts seek new avenues for satisfying their whims.

The 7% is not even one-tenth of first 2 and those 2 are still 5 times the total of the rest to 10.

Evidently, with that in mind, how Nigerian letter scams becomes significant really escapes me, we hardly even have the kind of Internet connections the other countries can boast of.

Enough of the analysis, thanks to you and MyWebround for highlighting this.



Beauty said... Nigerian letter scams becomes significant really escapes me, we hardly even have the kind of Internet connections the other countries can boast of.. is a reality check on the issue of cy-crime. The Americans may own the Internet but Nigerians own the web! You may not like it but we happen to be the clever ones with the next level opportunist ideas. Philip Emeagwali "father of the Internet" is a case in point.

Before the web, those 419 letters used to arrive in bucket loads and yes, our kobo stamps rocked the world. That was later transfered online and the rest is history. The US may claim 66% but on analysis the story is slightly different. Of those complaints reporting a dollar loss, the highest median losses were found among check fraud ($3,000), confidence fraud ($2,000), Nigerian (west African, 419, Advance Fee) letter fraud ($1,650).

Take this further and visit Interpol records of nationalities involved in suspected cases or convictions and the picture does point to Nigerians Abroad. Forget the Yahoo boys! Of course only a small number of Nigerians are cyber-criminals but those perpetrators do it a lot with thanks to bad Microsoft software.

Ten people, all Nigerian nationals, are suspected of making more than US$28,000 in three months is how Sophos and other security software companies market their products. Why? True or False is irrelevant, that brand sells, huge! Isn't that a reason for our clever government to take on those companies and hurt their profits? And at the same time clearing up the Nigeria & 419 image. But he/she who has no sin should cast the 1st stone.

The Activist said...

Seriously, this is an eye opener come to think of how our name has being soiled. I am not saying we should be happy that we are 3rd even. Because I am all for the eradication of cyber crime but still it's surprising that nigeria did not top the list with everything we have heard and some we have seen and some we have witnessed.

Agegelabs said...

Worth flagging that the report is specific to the US only. 93% of complainants came from the US. Hence no surprise with the 66% US number.

I agree with Beauty, The reason why we are more popular is in the amount involved.

lol@ Sophos marketing. On a serious note, No need to re-brand Nigeria, instead invest that money in a Technology centre situation at one of the universities focused on collecting intel/info on the scammers and develop the a variety of software applications to fight them. Make it a foundation which distributes it for free (can have a premium version for corporation and charge). This creates jobs in Nigeria and might even attract a big software company to come onboard.

Danny Bagucci said...

I must say that the numbers shocked me when I first heard of them.. Guess its a classic case of me being too lazy to check up on the facts in the first place.. Thanks for sharing..... Not all things bad are Nigerian afterall!!!


@ Akin: I can definitely understand your point. With regards to the 'drug war' (if i may loosely use that term, this administration is finally admitting publicly to the reality that demand plays a part in solving the problem. At least Hillary Clinton did during a recent trip to Latin American neighbors.

As to cyber crime and yahoo boys, we know that a lot of those messages use some Nigerian name or the other, but I am learning that so many other nationals use the same tactic - oil money in Nigeria to dupe others. Anyway, it was eye opening to read this report and I hope that it will help balance the discourse on cyber crime which is a growing problem.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

@ Beauty: So, if I understand you correctly, what you are saying is that we should consider the fact that Nigerians abroad are a primary group of perpetrators? That definitely adds to the conversation.

Your point about the old fashion snail mail letters that were the precursor to e-419 cannot be ignored. That is where/when the reputation started and like too many other things - Delta crisis, epileptic electricity - Nigerian officials were too busy 'chopping' to deal with what has now become a PR disaster.

For sure, companies are beginning to use the Naija-scam issue to sell their products and you are right, whether it is right or not, the Nigerian government should target those companies and get them to stop. You will have to forgive me, my broda, if i don't hold my breath waiting for that to happen, lol!

Thanks for adding to the conversation.

@ Standtall: That was my reaction. I read about the report at Webround's blog, and even I had to go spend some time reading the report because (and no offense to Webround, na solid person) I wondered if he had missed something, lol!

This only reinforces that perception does not always reflect reality. Nigeria allowed itself to be branded as a nation of scammers, the US and other countries on that list, smartly didn't let that happen. I can't even blame the US or anyone else for that. if the Nigerian government refuses to play it smart for the benefit of their people, then we can't blame anyone else for taking advantage of that, now can we?

Thanks for swing by!

@ AL: Thank you for pointing that out. Will add your point to the post so that other readers are aware of this.

With regard to your recommendation re: nigerians fighting cyber crime, I have to say it is a great idea. Over a month ago, I wrote a draft about Microsoft, it partnership in Nigeria and my dissatisfaction. That post will be published next week, but I will amend it to include your suggestion. Hopefully, someone will read it and pass it on to someone who cares enough to make a difference.

Thank you so much for stopping by and adding to the conversation. Much appreciated.


@ danny: Most people who take the time will realize that 'Nigeria' is not synonymous with 'bad'. Unfortunately, I think that the far from effective governments the nation has had buttresses such accusations and makes it hard for even those who care to defend the country without backlash.

How body?

Anonymous said...

These Statistics can be explained by the FACT that the percentage of Nigerians in all these 10 countries will account for their Upstage nigeria in statistics.1 out of 3 nigerians in the UK is involved in one fraud or the other.
A good percentage of naija fraud is actuated elsewhere as it is outsourced to foreign countries with better reps. search for "the real 419"

The Activist said...

@ SSD: no we cant. The image is so bad that when I travel I wonder why we are being treated as a potential scammer even at the airport....


@ Anon 8:12: Do you really believe that or are you being controversial or saying that to be the devil's Advocate? I am just curious and would like to know your thoughts further on this matter.

Nevertheless, you raise an interesting point and hope others will chime in so as to expand on this line of discussion.

Your comment, "1 out of 3 nigerians in the UK is involved in one fraud or the other." can you provide me a link or other source to verify this assertion? I know there are a lot of Nigerian in the UK, so to assert that a third of them are involved in cyber crime, especially without some evidence, is a little..., well, I hope you can understand my reservations.

As to, well, I actually have had the good fortune of striking up a friendship with its creator. I am not sure where your comment is coming from and what your experience has been on the site (please feel free to expand on this for the sake of discourse), but the guy I know has been nothing but kind and helpful to me, whenever i needed it. I know him as a hardworking individual trying to become a successful entrepreneur by using his internet savvy. I know I am always the last to learn about certain things (i.e. gist) but, I have never heard of anything unsavory with regard to him or his business. Anyway, let me stop there.

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts.

@ Standtall: Ah, Naija's reputation is super bad. Every time I travel with that green kpali, na wa! =) I have written about a few of my experiences here and here. I chose to write no further about that because, well...I didn't want to beat that horse to death.

This actually gives me an idea... Let me send you an email, sef!

Anonymous said...

But the question becomes who in these countries are perpetrators of such cyber-crimes? Sometime ago I came across a report which indicted Nigerians as making up a large portion of those who engage in such crimes in the top two countries mentioned here (USA & UK). So this may just be a matter of crime location, and not criminal identity.


@ Reginald: That is the same point Anon was seemingly trying to make. So, in fairness, I will mention to you what I mentioned to him. Please, I am begging for a link or additional info on this line of thinking, so if it is relatively well documented, I can add it to the post for sake of fairness and education.

Anyway, how body? Good to see you around these parts.

webround said...

(1) - 419 is BAD and the perpetrators should be PUNISHED.However, most victims (not all) are victims becos of GREED. The letter tells you it is ill-gotten wealth but becos you have been promised 1000% increase on a small money you put down, you join. When you get burnt, you start crying.

(2) On the other hand, Non-delivered merchandise which accounts for the highest percentage of cybercrime (33%) can happen to anybody. You go to a website, pay for something and you don't receive the item. This I believe is inherently more wicked.

(3) In a bribery case, both the giver and taker get punished.
In drug cases, both the buyer and seller get punished.
In prostituion, both the call girl and the customer get punished.
Why can't there be a law that in 419 cases which involves ill-gotten wealth, both the perpetrator and victim should get punished? How come the foreign media glosses over the fact that the victims were willing to engage in an illegal trade?

@Annonymous - 1 out of every 3 Nigerians in the UK is involved in fraud? Please kindly show statistics to prove this.

Also, non-delivered merchandise and internet auction fraud account for about 60% of the total cyber crime. these 2 require (not in all cases) some form of business registration or some serious hoops you have to jump through which reduces the percentage of Nigerians involved. Nigerians (based on the past crime profiles as published by the FBI) are more likely to be involved in the credit card fraud (and 419)which is only 9% of the reported crime. My point here is I do not agree that Nigerians abroad are the reason why the majority of the crimes have been reported to foreign countries and not Nigeria.

My friend who works in the IT security field told me recently that in the past year she has attended several security conferences where the speakers have said that the trend now is that a lot of foreigners are imitating the 419 modus including fabricating the Nigerian connection. so next time you see that letter, it may not be coming from a Nigerian.

Don't get me wrong, Nigerians are involved in 419 and it is bad. but it is high time we stopped ascribing everything bad on the internet to Nigerians.

Sugabelly said...

@Anonymous 8:03: Get real. One out of three Nigerians in the UK are involved in internet scams... are you fucking kidding me? Do you have any idea that people actually have shit to do? Like go to school, go to fucking work, and get on with their bloody lives?

Do you really expect anyone (except paranoid westerners) to believe that 33% of all Nigerians in the UK are sending out scam emails? Do you know what a whopping number 33%?

Do you know how many Nigerians there are in the UK? There are at least 3 million Nigerians in the UK.

According to you, 1 million of them are there to perpetrate internet fraud.

Yeah fucking right.

9ja book said...

@anonymous what has this got to do with 9jabook ? we actually expose the different 419 scams going on regualrly .Or are you mad at us for doing this ? One out of three, where are your facts coming from .please enlighten us .

Anonymous said...

there is one thing certain that nigeria overuses grace which the
western world uses as an advantage transfering all guilt on
ours.although, people say UK cyber crimes is dominated by nigerians
i.e in there country .So i think we should be rated above UK if not
above yankees.


Zach said...

I don't think anyone PURPOSELY cast Nigeria as the primary perpetrator in internet scams. First of all, "Nigeria" letters refers to a whole genre, if you will, of internet scams. Many so-called Nigeria offers come from South Africa or the Middle East, or once I even got one from England.

Not only that, but even if they all say they are located in Nigeria, and eagerly awaiting doing business with us, thanks to the web, they could be my next door neighbor here in Las Vegas.

That probably accounts for the huge difference between the Nigerian-originated cyber crimes, and the amount of money generated by "Nigeria" letters.

P.S. Thanks for adding me to the blogroll!

Anonymous said...

@all @ 9jabook hey .the folks here am sure have never been on the streets or hustled a dime to save their neck so i reserve any further comments on the 1 in 3.9jabook I put your site there as one that does a lot of articles & blogs on nigerian scams.The info your writer s supply are quite accurate !.no offence we like your site.although you guys should try to be more of a social network than a rebel network ! we are watching
@sugabelly there are lots of people involved in the scam will be surprised at the caliber of nigerian people abroad.I know of a medical doctor practising in the UK and is also a part time scammer.Mr Solomon for reasons of anonymity my identity remains hidden. take care people lets keep it real.maybe i will do an article and post it here. my statistics are not empirical but based on head counts.Also ghanaians in the UK are coming in quickly and these are not nigerians !

Anonymous said...

These are very interesting statistics. I do take AL's clarification on board but even with that, the report supports my suspicions that internet crime involving Nigerians is really over-hyped. It seems that Nigerian 419 has now become a general label for a particular subset of scam, a bit like Lebanese loops. Part of the reason for this is skewed reporting that paints the respondents as victims and the foreign scammers as villains when it would be more accurate to point out that such scams could never succeed without the greed of both parties.

Like some have pointed out a lot of cyber-crime that is supposedly Nigerian originates elsewhere. There was an ABC expose a while ago about a doctor scammed by a 'Nigerian' con artist. The guy claimed to be able to wash black paper in a special chemical that turns it into money and the foolish surgeon believed him. It is obvious that the scammer is a Ghanian man, anyone who is familiar with West African accents would know this, yet they kept referring to him and the scheme as Nigerian.

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H2O-works said...

I don't think this is much of an eye opener given the fact the only slightly above 2% of Nigerians in Nigeria have access to the internet. Also this cyber crime and that is very broad, Nigerians have been accused of online scams but that is about it, cyber crime is inclusive of soliciting child porn, sex predators, digital stealing from bank accounts, hackers, identity thefts, online scams and all. We are supposedly only guilty of one amongst these crimes...but as u say, it doesn't mean our authorities should slack on nabbing these culprits.

Unknown said...

I am not saying most of us(Nigerians) are criminals but have we actually sat down and think if this is a true reflection of what our leaders have taught us. Being a UK based Nigerian i know 85% of the internet scam deals in this country has a naija link and i can say the same for the States. maybe we should ask ourselves if we are the ones pushing up the statistics in other part of the world because i have never seen any country in this world without a naija community...++

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Anonymous said...

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te osoby, jakie nie wiążą z tym własnego zawodu.

Ogólnie rzecz biorąc, rachunkowośc nie jest w sumie branżą, a takim systemem ewidencji gospodarczej, który ma ująć w ilościach finansowych nadarzajce się zdarzenia gospodarcze toczące
się w tej konkretnej jednostce działającej
na rynku. Ustawą rachunkowości są objęte dosłownie wszystkie jednostki
zajmujące się procesami produkcyjnymi, dytrybucyjnymi, konsumpcyjnymi, a także
akumulującymi zasoby. Ewidencje księgowe prowadzone w biurach rachunkowych mają
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Anonymous said...

Współcześnie biura księgowe nie muszą narzekać na zbyt małą ilośc klientów.

Zgłaszają się do nich głównie właściciele
firm, którzy założyli indywidualne działalności. Takich przedsiębiorców jest obecnie na rynku
naprawdę dużo. Prowadząc oraz obsługując samodzielnie
działalność, nie można o wszystko zatroszczyć się
osobiście. Z tego względu korzystają oni z możliwości oferowanych na rynku,
które okazują się świetnym rozwiązaniem.

Jedną z branży, która obsługuje takie firmy jest
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Anonymous said...

Pewną pośród dziedzin, jakie aktualnie mają niezwykle
istotną rolę na rynku jest rachunkowość. To ona będzie odpowiedzialna za ewidencję zachodzących wydarzeń transakcyjnych na rynku gospodarczym, jakie mogą
być wymierzone w pieniężnych wartościach. Ona także jest podmiotem zainteresowania wszystkich przedsiębiorców,
którzy zdecydowali się na założenie prywatnej firmy.

Tak naprawdę wszyscy z nich są przymuszeni do rozliczenia się z
instytucjami skarby państwa, jako część gospodarki krajowej.
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Anonymous said...

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Takie wyjście może być dla dużej ilosci osób bardzo interesujące, ponieważ jest oczywiste, że dobrze jest zostać szefem samym dla siebie.
W rzeczywistości z założenia swojej działalności gospodarczej wynika bardzo dużo
obowiązków, jakie mogą pociągnąć do odpowiedzialności każdego prezesa.

Zwłaszcza na tle podatkowym. Jednakże, gdy korzysta on z możliwości profesjonalnego biura rachunkowego, to nie
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