The five-month-long police operation has led to the arrests of almost a thousand suspects and the seizure of nearly $130m obtained via phishing, romance scams, sextortion, and other cybercrimes.
Global Interpol-led operation dubbed HAECHI III lasted for five months, involving fraud investigators from around the globe. Authorities made hundreds of arrests and intercepted millions of dollars linked to fraud and money laundering.
“The operation resulted in the arrest of 975 individuals and allowed investigators to resolve more than 1,600 cases. In addition, almost 2,800 bank and virtual-asset accounts linked to the illicit proceeds of online financial crime were blocked,” Interpol announced.
According to the authorities, the operation shed some light on emerging online crime trends such as novel variations of impersonation scams, romance fraud, sextortion, and investment fraud.
Interpol notes an increasing volume of fraudulent schemes enabled by instant messaging apps where encrypted information is exchanged for crypto assets to avoid detection.
In one case, authorities in Greece and Italy arrested two fugitives suspected of developing a global Ponzi scheme. The duo is suspected of stealing $28m from 2,000 victims in Korea alone.
Interestingly, Austrian and Indian law enforcement identified a group of cybercriminals that impersonated Interpol officers. The group managed to convince victims to transfer $159k through financial institutions, crypto, and banks.
“We have highlighted the need for greater efforts to deprive criminals of their illegal gains, and this operation has seen member countries doing just that.” Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock said.
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