Social media users are regular targets of phishing scam artists, cybercriminals posing as legitimate authorities in an attempt to steal passwords, usernames, and other sensitive information from their victims.
In many cases, this leads to nothing more than a few fraudulent statuses and fake messages. However, in the case of Abiodun Adejohn, nearly 1 million dollars in office supplies were stolen from U.S. vendors before federal law enforcement officials halted his scam.
Working under a variety of aliases, Adejohn and his conspirators used fake web pages mimicking official agencies like the EPA to collect passwords from their employees. They used these stolen credentials to login and ship orders from vendors authorized to deal with the government. Goods were shipped to a variety of individuals in New Jersey who would repackage them to sell the stolen goods.
These indirect shipping methods were intended to confuse investigators and make it difficult to trace the goods to their eventual point of sale, the Nigerian blackmarket. However, thanks to the efforts of a joint task force with members from the EPA, as well as special agents from several segments of the FBI, the fraudulent accounts were traced back to Adejohn. He pled guilty to one count of wire fraud conspiracy and was sentenced on May 20, 2015 to 3 years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $630,806.
With the serious nature of cyber crime in the digital age, the FBI has posted a list of safety tips for internet users. These include maintaining a firewall, and turning off the computer when not in use. Tips like these can all help to create an effective barrier between users and phishing scam artists like Adejohn.
However, technology is always changing, and with it the tools criminals use to steal sensitive information. The FBI also recommends updating antivirus software and keeping your operating system up to date as a part of staying one step ahead of cybercrime.