CyberNews Briefs

2,000 arrests in crackdown on social engineering and business email scams

Interpol has announced a major crackdown on social engineering campaigns that led to the arrest of 2,000 individuals. Interpol stated that the raid occurred over the span of two months at 1,700 different locations. In addition to the arrests, Interpol obtained $50 million in fraudulently gained proceeds. The individuals arrested were described by the international police organization as money launderers, fraudsters, and operators involved in social engineering and business email compromise attacks. The BEC scams have resulted in losses of roughly $2.4 billion to US victims, the FBI says.

Interpol stated that the operation was prompted by an observed increase in attacked referred to as vishing (voice phishing) in which criminals pretend to be bank officials in order to gain online account log-in details from targets. The FBI and CISA warned of an increase in this type of attack in 2020, and it has continued to gain traction. The Interpol operation occurred between March 8 and May 8 and has been codenamed First Light 2022. According to Interpol, 76 countries participated in the crackdown to bring down social engineering scams that often target vulnerable populations, such as the elderly. The raids took place at call centers suspected of operating these scams, including telephone deception, romance scams, and connected financial crimes.

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