Interpol Says Email Fraud Operation Resulted In 1,000 Arrests and $27 Million Seized
Police in 20 separate countries arrested 1,003 suspects as part of a sweeping crackdown on digital financial crime from June 2021 to September, including suspected operators of a type of scam called “business email compromise” (BEC), according to Interpol.
Other scams involved in the Interpol-coordinated operation include romance scams, investment fraud, and money laundering. Interpol, which is not a police force but an international organization that coordinates action by police across member countries, said in a press release that the effort resolved nearly 1,660 ongoing investigations and led to the seizure of over 2,350 bank accounts and nearly $27 million in allegedly illicit proceeds.
Interpol wrote the operation, titled HAECHI-II, targeted scams suspected to be linked in some fashion to North Korean operators—such as a “single case in Colombia” that resulted in losses of over $8 million to a “prominent textiles company.” In that case, the operators impersonated legal counsel in order to authorize payments of $16 million to bank accounts in China, with one of the payments going through before the fraud was noticed and reported to Colombian authorities, according to Interpol. Another scam described by Interpol involved a “malware-laden mobile application using the name and branding of the Netflix show Squid Game” that secretly gained access to users’ bank accounts and authorized payments for pricey subscription services.