Global intelligence agencies have identified links between shonky online romance websites and terrorist organisations. The Holland-based information agency Ultrascan AGI has connected groups like Boko Haram with money-making cyber scams.

Boko Haram bought international scorn upon itself when it kidnapped 276 school girls from a boarding school last year. Early last week, it was responsible for the massacre of more than 2000 people near the Nigerian-Chad border.

Detective Superintendent Brian Hay (officer in charge of the fraud and cyber-crime group) said, “We are aware terrorists have used financial crime as a method of funding operations in the past.

“We do know that Nigerian scammers have a global base and that some overseas agencies have touted about certain links (with terror groups). But have we established a nexus? We have our suspicions.”

Australians are estimated to lose around $90 million a year to online scams. Most of these scams can be traced to sources in Nigeria. Nigerian fraud accounts for 90 per cent of all romance scams.

“Just this week,” continued Detective Inspector Hay, “I spoke to an elderly gentleman who came forward after sending around $900,000 to a number of their scams.”

If governments are serious about combating terrorist organisations they need to work together to throttle the money trails supporting them.

“So much cyber-crime is being perpetuated at a global level,” said DI Hay. “We’ve got to improve our communication, our pathways, and our co-operative spirit to work more effectively.”

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