The INTERPOL operation, codenamed “HAECHI-I,” assembled law enforcement across Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Korea, Laos, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The operation mainly targeted five types of online financial crime: investment fraud, money laundering (from illegal online gaming), online sextortion, romance scams, and voice phishing.
Between September 2020 and March 2021, authorities opened more than 1,400 investigations of online fraud and while many of the cases remain ongoing, Interpol said, 892 cases have been solved.
A total of 585 individuals were arrested and more than 1,600 bank accounts around the world were frozen throughout the course of the operation.
“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.
Business Email Compromise (BEC)
A Korean company was approached by what appeared to be one of their trading partners requesting payment of a series of invoices. The bank details on the invoices, however, had been fraudulently changed. The company eventually transferred nearly $7 million to the fraudster; money that was swiftly routed to bank accounts in Indonesia and Hong Kong, China. In a quick collaborative action authorities managed to freeze half of the stolen funds.
Ramp and dump
A criminal syndicate in Hong Kong, China coordinated the purchase of a large quantity of specific stocks, suddenly raising the share price. The group then took to social media, encouraging users to invest in this upward trend, propelling the share price even higher. At an agreed peak, the syndicate sold their stocks, profiting from the high price that soon after collapsed and leaving the investors with significant losses.
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