Trafficking for cyber fraud an increasingly globalised crime, Interpol says


FILE PHOTO: A man passes Interpol signages at Interpol World in Singapore July 2, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Interpol said on Friday its first operation targeting human-trafficking fueled cyber fraud showed the criminal industry was going global, spreading beyond its origins in Southeast Asia, with scam centres emerging as far away as Latin America.

The global police coordination body said law enforcement from more than 20 countries in October carried out inspections at hundreds of trafficking and smuggling hotspots, many known to be used to traffic victims to commit online fraud "on an industrial scale, while enduring abject physical abuse".

The coordinated operation, which led to hundreds of arrests, demonstrated the "expanding geographical footprint" of the crime, the agency said, with examples including Malaysians lured to Peru by promises of highly paid work and Ugandan nationals taken to Dubai then Thailand and Myanmar, where they were confined under armed guard and taught to defraud banks.

While most cases are still in Southeast Asia, Rosemary Nalubega, Assistant Director, Vulnerable Communities at Interpol, said in a statement "this modus operandi is spreading, with victims sourced from other continents and new scam centres appearing as far afield as Latin America."

The phenomenon emerged in Southeast Asia, where the United Nations says hundreds of thousands of people have been trafficked by criminal gangs and forced to work in scam centres and other illegal online operations that have sprung up in recent years.

The fast-growing scams centres are generating billions of U.S. dollars in revenue each year, the U.N. said.

A Reuters investigation last month detailed the emergence of the crime and its financing, examining how a crypto account registered in the name of a Chinese national in Thailand had received millions of dollars from a crypto wallet that a U.S. blockchain analysis firm said was linked to scams. The victims of one was a U.S. national.

(Reporting by Poppy McPherson; Editing by Martin Petty)

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!

   

Next In Tech News

Xiaomi launches new photo-geared 14 Series smartphone
Google rows back AI-image tool after WWII gaffe
Rise of AI is 'not going to be only a good story,' OpenAI boss says
Review: 'Apollo Justice' – Be the lawyer of this courtroom drama
Review: 'Prince of Persia' – A race against time in an ancient empire
Exclusive-Broadcom nears $3.8 billion sale of remote access unit to KKR
Google says its AI image-generator would sometimes ‘overcompensate’ for diversity
Authorities troll LockBit boss on his commandeered Darkweb site
Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg seeks out of lawsuits blaming him for Instagram addiction
Canadian federal police says they were targeted by cyberattack

Others Also Read