Interpol has arrested more than 20,000 people globally for online fraud.
In an Interpol-coordinated blow against Internet and telecommunications fraudsters since September 2019, the International Criminal Police Agency has announced that it has detained a total of over 20,000 persons.
The international organization said that 35 countries engaged in the First Light” campaign, contributing to 21,549 arrests in more than 10,000 raids, as well as the seizure of “illicit funds” of almost $154 million.
The inquiry saw Interpol release three so-called “Purple Notices” after a “enforcement phase” in September-November last year, documenting tactics and equipment used in “telephone scams, investment fraud and fraud schemes taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Although a social engineering feature was used in some of the crimes laid at the feet of offenders, where victims are tricked into giving up personal information such as passwords or bank details, the investigation “emphasized the transnational nature of a lot of telephone and online scam acts, where culprits mostly operate from another country, even continent than their victims.”
The organisation had said in a statement that for the very first time, law enforcement has teamed up with Interpol on a multinational stance to look into the abuse of telecommunications, with operations happening on every continent.
There were incident of “business e-mail compromise, romance scams and ‘smishing’,” where SMS are being used to try and convince their targets to put forward valuable details in a variant more traditional email “phishing” threats, and it was discovered that during the Covid-19 pandemic, such scams proliferated.