Seven Nigerians have been arrested in the Philippines  for allegedly belonging to an international bank hacking syndicate who came to the Philippines posing as students and tourists.

The suspects were arrested in Cavite province in Southern Luzon, according to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Phillippines Lifestyle reports.

The chief of the NBI Cybercrime Division, Vic Lorenzo said in a statement that the suspects were arrested in their rented house in the town of General Trias, Cavite where the law enforcers confiscated equipment such as laptops and mobile phones they used in their illegal hacking of banks both here and abroad.

Their arrest, Lorenzo added, arose from valuable information by their fellow syndicate members arrested abroad as well as from the banks they had victimised. A reliable source who requested anonymity, revealed the syndicate managed to withdraw about $20 million from a bank in just one month.

Lorenzo said:

“The suspects are members of a well-oganised syndicate of bank hackers operating in the Philippines,” Lorenzo said, adding they would use as “fronts” Filipino women they befriended and who would be asked to open a bank account so they could get access to the banking system."

“Most of the women were also victims of the syndicate. They thought they were just helping their boyfriends because of the strict banking rules imposed on foreigners in the country.”

The suspects would later use the accounts to gain access to other individual bank accounts using e-mail addresses, he pointed out. As syndicate members, Lorenzo said the suspects entered the country posing as students by enrolling in local schools so they could get their own identification cards.