Interpol has assisted in arresting 1,003 people suspected of being involved in different cyber crimes such as romance scams, investment fraud, internet money laundering, and unlawful online gambling. This crackdown follows a four-month operation dubbed ‘Operation HAEICHI-II,’ which took place in twenty nations from June to September 2021.
The authorities have seized approximately $27 million and frozen 2,350 bank accounts tied to different cyber offenses on the financial side of things. According to the Interpol release, HAEICHI-II detected at least ten new criminal modus operandi, demonstrating the dynamic nature of cybercrime.
A Colombian textiles firm was duped by BEC (Business Email Compromise) attackers, according to one significant incident of fraud discovered in HAEICHI-II. The criminals pretended to be a legitimate representative of the corporation and demanded that $16 million be delivered to two Chinese bank accounts in two payments of $8,000,000 each. Interpol’s assistance helped the company recover 94 percent of the money, preventing it from going bankrupt.
A Slovenian company was duped into sending $800,000 to money mule accounts in China in another case. Interpol collaborated with Beijing officials to restore the whole sum to the victim.
Using the ‘Squid Game’ as a motif for malware distribution operations was a growing trend that investigators discovered during HAEICHI-II. The cybercriminals took advantage of the Netflix show’s popularity to disguise trojanized programs that were ostensibly mobile games. In reality, these applications enrolled users in “premium” services and inflated their costs, while their distributors profited from connections.
According to José De Gracia, Assistant Director, Criminal Networks at Interpol, online frauds using harmful applications change as swiftly as they opportunistically exploit cultural trends.
The capacity of police to safeguard victims of an online financial crime depends on sharing information about developing dangers. It also reminds us that no country is fighting alone. When police work collectively, they can successfully counter this threat, as demonstrated by Operation HAEICHI-II.