Interpol seizes millions in global crackdown against scammers

Nearly 7,000 bank accounts were frozen, and assets totaling $257 million were seized during a global police operation against online scam networks. The coordinated strike hit 61 countries.

In a press release, Interpol said that Operation First Light 2024 led to the arrest of 3,950 individuals. Another 14,000 possible suspects who were involved in various kinds of scams worldwide were identified.

Officials targeted phishing, investment fraud, fake online shopping sites, romance, and impersonation scams.

Police collectively intercepted around $135 million in fiat currency (official currency issued and regulated by governments) and $2 million in cryptocurrency. Other assets worth over $120 million were seized, including real estate, high-end vehicles, expensive jewelry, and many other high-value items and collections, Interpol said.

“The results of this global police operation are more than just numbers – they represent lives protected, crimes prevented, and a healthier global economy worldwide,” said Dr Isaac Kehinde Oginni, director of Interpol’s Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Centre.

“By confiscating such large amounts of money and disrupting the networks behind them, we not only safeguard our communities but also deal a significant blow to the transnational organized crime groups that pose such a serious threat to global security.”

Authorities also rescued 88 youths in the Namibian capital of Windhoek who were forced into conducting online scams. Other operations were arranged in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Brazil.

First Light operations, designed to fight social engineering and telecom fraud, are funded by China’s Ministry of Public Security and coordinated by Interpol.

Another international law enforcement effort targeting online financial crime has resulted in nearly 3,500 arrests and the confiscation of assets totaling $300 million across 34 countries in December 2023.