Interpol has intercepted $83 million from financial cyber crimes

Pierluigi Paganini May 30, 2021

Interpol has intercepted $83 million in illicit funds transferred from victims to the accounts used by crooks.

An operation conducted by Interpol, codenamed HAECHI-I, conducted by more than 40 officers in the Asia Pacific region over six months period allowed to intercept a total of USD 83 million in illicit funds transferred from victims to the cybercriminals

Operation HAECHI-I took place between September 2020 and March 2021 and focused on five types of online financial crime, investment fraud, romance scams, money laundering associated with illegal online gambling, online sextortion, and voice phishing.

The operation is the result of an international joint effort, it allowed to identify and arrest a total of 585 individuals. More than 1,600 bank accounts around the world were frozen throughout the course of the operation.

“More than 1,400 investigations were opened during HAECHI-I’s six-month operational phase (September 2020 – March 2021) – many of which remain ongoing – and 892 cases were solved.” reads the press release published by Interpol.

“While the operation focused on the Asia Pacific region, the borderless nature of these online crimes meant that investigations soon spread to include law enforcement on every continent.”

In a case reported by the International Police that took place in early February, a Korean company received from their apparent trading partners a series of invoices. The financial details reported in the invoices sent to the company had been fraudulently changed. The company transferred nearly USD 7 million to the fraudster through bank accounts in Indonesia and Hong Kong, China.

The good news is that the law enforcement identified the fraudulent activities and freezed the accounts used by crooks and recovered most of victims’ funds. 

“Online fraudsters often attempt to exploit the borderless nature of the Internet by targeting victims in other countries or transferring their illicit funds abroad,” said Ilana de Wild, Interpol’s Director of Organized and Emerging Crime.

“The results of Operation HAECHI-I demonstrate that online financial crime is fundamentally global and that only through close international cooperation can we effectively combat these criminals.”

Operation HAECHI-I was supported by officers from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Korea, Laos, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

“Operation HAECHI-I is the first operation in a three-year project to tackle cyber-enabled financial crime supported by the Republic of Korea.” concludes the press release.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Interpol)

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