Interpol snaps up 2,000 scammers and recovers over £40,000,000

Hacker steal password and identity, computer crime.

Interpol said it searched a number of call centers suspected of telecom or fraud fraud (Credits: Getty Images)

Interpol has successfully cracked down on a global fraud operation that resulted in the interception of around US$50m (£40m) worth of illegal funds.

On Wednesday, Interpol announced the arrest of 2,000 suspects and the freezing of around 4,000 bank accounts.

Codenamed First Light 2022, the probe covered 1,770 locations in 76 countries and took place over two months from March 8 to May 8.

The global crackdown on telecom and social engineering fraud has led to the identification of fraudsters worldwide, the seizure of significant criminal assets and the triggering of new leads on every continent.

Interpol said it searched a number of call centers suspected of telecom or fraud fraud, with many of the establishments allegedly involved in phone fraud, love scams, email scams and related financial crimes.

Successful Interpol stings included Singapore police rescuing a teenage fraud victim who had been tricked into pretending to have been kidnapped, “sending videos of himself with fake wounds to his parents and a ransom of to demand 1.5 million euros”.

Interpol catches hackers

The probe covered 1,770 locations in 76 countries and lasted two months (Image: Interpol)

In another case, police arrested a Chinese national suspected of being involved in a Ponzi scheme that is estimated to have swindled around 24,000 victims out of €34m (£29m).

As part of the operation, Singapore Police arrested eight suspects in connection with Ponzi-style job scams that would offer high-paying online marketing jobs on social media and messaging systems that initially saw victims earn little and subsequently had to recruit more members to earn commissions.

“The international nature of these crimes can only be successfully addressed if law enforcement agencies work together across borders, which is why Interpol is so important in providing a coordinated tactical response to police around the world,” said Rory Corcoran, Director of Interpol’s Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Center.

What is social engineering scam?

Social engineering scams refer to scams in which people are manipulated or tricked into revealing confidential or personal information, which can then be used for criminal financial gain.

He added that crimes of this nature “are a serious problem for many countries and have an extremely damaging impact on economies, businesses and communities”.

While the first First Light operations took place across Southeast Asia, this operation marks the second time law enforcement has coordinated on a global scale, with tactical operations taking place on every continent.

MORE : FBI shuts down multi-million dollar hacker black market

MORE : ‘Predator’ spyware used by foreign hackers to target Android and Chrome users, Google claims Interpol snaps up 2,000 scammers and recovers over £40,000,000

Justin Scacco

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