Police have arrested 1,003 individuals across 22 jurisdictions in the last few months as part of a Interpol-coordinated operation against online financial crimes, including the business email compromise (BEC) scams.
Law enforcement across 20 nations made the arrests between June and September which involved various forms of online fraud crime, including romance scams, investment fraud and money laundering linked to online gambling. Some 2,350 bank accounts were seized as part of Interpol’s Operation HAECHI-II.
“Far from the common notion of online fraud as a relatively low-level and low stakes type of criminality, the results of Operation HAECHI-II show that transnational organized crime groups have been using the Internet to extract millions from their victims before funneling the illicit cash to bank accounts across the globe,” the international criminal police organisation said.
The operation specifically targeted BEC, or email fraud, which involves tricking staff to wire large sums to supposed suppliers or contractors, often by using emails that appear to be sent by someone more senior in the organisation.
The FBI estimated that BEC scams cost US businesses $1.8 billion in 2020, dwarfing the reported $29 million in losses attributed to ransomware. The scammers has also taken a leaf from the ransomware-business by moving to