Money laundering, ransomware, phishing, scams and online child abuse are major police concerns, Interpol said.
According to Interpol’s first-ever Global Crime Trend Report, restricted to law enforcement, 70% of respondents expect ransomware and phishing attacks to increase in the next three to five years.
The pandemic prompted the emergence of financial crime-as-a-service, where criminals hire other criminals for digital money laundering to cash out.
Interpol said financial crimes and cybercrime are invariably linked since a significant amount of fraud is cyber-enabled, taking place through digital technologies and currencies
Money laundering is the number one crime for law enforcement globally, with 67% ranking it very high on their list. Ransomware is considered the second biggest crime threat, likely to increase in the near future.
“Crime has also moved online, and cyber-enabled financial crimes, such as business email compromise, CEO fraud (where cybercriminals impersonate executives), e-commerce scams, and investment fraud, have escalated in nearly every region. Today’s ransomware attacks target ‘big game’ targets, including major corporations, governments, and critical infrastructure,” Interpol said.
Recently, an Interpol-coordinated operation saw 75 suspected members of West-African financial crime rings arrested across 14 countries. Some fifty properties were searched during Operation Jackal, which froze 1.2 million euros in bank accounts and seized cars, properties, tens of thousands in cash, and 12,000 SIM cards.
Police also witnessed a spike in online child sexual exploitation and abuse – the third-highest-ranking future crime threat.
Interpol also offered some regional insights. The top crime threat in the Americas and the Caribbean was illicit firearms trafficking. The report predicts that 3D printing will make it easier for criminals to create homemade weapons, further fueling the issue.
In Europe, 76% of respondents expect online child abuse and sexual exploitation to increase in the near future.
“The demand for livestreaming abuse has steadily increased in recent years, likely intensifying during the pandemic. While live distance child abuse most often takes place in Southeast Asia, cases in the European Union have also recently been detected,” Interpol said.
Phishing, online scams, money laundering, and synthetic drug trafficking are the top three threats the continent’s currently facing.
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