The attempt by Nigeria to clamp down on cybercrime through 'operation eagle claw' has been widely welcomed; but questions remain on how far it will work. The country's economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) boss Farida Waziri said in New York on Thursday that Nigeria's anti-corruption police clamped down on 18 syndicates controlling 800 scam sites.
She also said operation eagle claw would gather momentum once it got into full gear with companies like Microsoft, Google and Yahoo involved. (See: Nigeria cracks down on cyber crime, busts 18 syndicates)
But cynics suggest that the ever-resourceful internet conmen will simply find new ways to avoid the regulators. It is probably best not to reply to a message warning that you have been targeted by a scam - particularly if it requests details of your bank account.
The so-called 419 advance-fee frauds, named after the relevant article in Nigeria's penal code, involves fraudsters asking for money to pave the way for the release of a much greater sum.
Experts have estimated that the criminals receive just one reply from every 12.5 million e-mails they send. But the rewards can be massive.
Social networks such as Facebook have been hijacked recently by the fraudsters, who have taken over the accounts of users and then asked ''friends'' to send money to help them out of a crisis.
Microsoft said it was working with the EFCC on internet security and piracy and several Nigerian investigators have already had internet forensics training at the company's headquarters in Washington State. The Nigerian government is also working with Yahoo! and Google to monitor online traffic.