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European Health Ministries Fall for 419 Coronavirus Scam Linked to Nigeria

INTERPOL has unmasked an international COVID-19 fraud racket straddling three European countries – Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands. Nigeria was mentioned, as home to an account that was to receive a fraudulent onward transfer sum. The elaborate plan that targeted German health authorities had to do with securing of face masks in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. INTERPOL reported that what started as a chain of referrals eventually led to compromised emails and an advance-payment fraud scheme. “It all started with an email address and website which appeared to be linked to a legitimate company in Spain selling face masks. Unbeknownst to the buyers, the site was a fake and their legitimate email addresses had been compromised,” the report ‘Unmasked: International COVID-19 fraud exposed’ said. Nigeria popped up at the point of chasing advanced payments to the fraudsters. A majority of emergency payment, EUR 880,000 by the German buyers to the supposed Dutch supplier was moved from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom with the final destination being Nigeria, INTERPOL said.