US prosecutors charged 80 scanners in connection with a "romance scam", in which businesses and elderly women were defrauded of about $6 M. The gang apparently operated out of Nigeria, reaching out to sink its tentacles into the US.
Apparently of those 80 people, 17 were in the US, of which 14 were in the LA area. There's no indication if these were Nigerian citizens, or if any American or other nationalities were involved.
This is another scam that used "fake" military people to lure people in. In addition, they displayed sophisticated tech skills, hacking e-mails. They also impersonated employees, but it's not clear which companies or industries or what level of employee they impersonated.
I couldn't help thinking that anyone who might be sharing caregiving, personal, or other identifying information on social networking sites might be targeted, especially if there's indication that they're older people.
I think anyone who's gotten one of the fake IRS calls, advising that the recipient may be arrested for nonpayment of taxes, knows how unsettling these fake and threatening calls can be.
There's no indication what other international agencies may have been involved in the operation. I'm guessing that this might have been a multi-national operation though, especially with agencies that had jurisdiction in Nigeria.
At any rate, this is another reminder why we need to be so careful of our loved ones being sucked into these scams and losing money, if not their safety.