IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Story image

Hundreds arrested, millions seized in global INTERPOL investigation

By Jessie Chiang
Mon 20 Jun 2022

A two-month-long investigation by INTERPOL between March and May this year involved 76 countries and clamped down on organised crime groups behind telecommunications and social engineering scams.

INTERPOL says police in participating countries raided national call centres suspected of telecommunications or scamming fraud, particularly telephone deception, romance scams, email deception, and connected financial crime.

Preliminary figures reached so far include:

  • 1,770 locations raided worldwide
  • 3,000 suspects identified
  • 2,000 operators, fraudsters and money launderers arrested
  • 4,000 bank accounts frozen
  • USD $50 million worth of illicit funds intercepted

INTERPOL says emerging trends from the operation, named Operation Firstlight 2022, included how money mule herders are laundering money through the personal bank accounts of victims, and social media platforms are driving human trafficking.

There’s also an increase in vishing fraud with criminals pretending to be bank officials to trick victims into sharing online log-in details and growth in cybercriminals posing as INTERPOL officials to obtain money from victims believing themselves to be under investigation.

INTERPOL director of financial crime and anti-corruption centre (IFCACC) Rory Corcoran says telecom and BEC fraud are sources of serious concern for many countries and have a hugely damaging effect on economies, businesses and communities.

“The international nature of these crimes can only be addressed successfully by law enforcement working together beyond borders, which is why INTERPOL is critical to providing police the world over with a coordinated tactical response,” he says.

The head of INTERPOL’s national central bureau in Beijing Duan Daqi says the transnational and digital nature of different types of telecom and social engineering fraud continues to present grave challenges for local police authorities.

He says perpetrators operate from a different country or even continent than their victims and keep updating their fraud schemes.

“INTERPOL provides a unique platform for police cooperation to address this challenge. Though Operation Firstlight 2022 is concluded, our collective law enforcement efforts will continue as the crimes persist,” he says.

INTERPOL says to identify the criminal assets that would require interception during tactical operations, countries share intelligence via its secure global police communications network I-24/7 ahead of time.

This feeds INTERPOL’s financial crimes analysis file with data on suspects, suspicious bank accounts, unlawful transactions and communications means such as telephone numbers, email addresses, fraudulent websites and IP addresses.

Other key results

INTERPOL says the Singapore Police Force rescued a teenage scam victim who had been tricked into pretending to be kidnapped, sending videos of himself with fake wounds to his parents and seeking a EUR €1.5 million ransom.

A Chinese national, wanted in connection with a Ponzi scheme and estimated to have defrauded nearly 24,000 victims out of EUR €34 million, was arrested in Papua New Guinea and returned to China via Singapore.

INTERPOL says with the Internet creating new online career prospects, companies and professionals who turn to e-commerce affiliates and EBShopp business opportunities are increasingly being scammed.

The Singapore Police Force also arrested eight suspects linked to Ponzi-like job scams. Scammers would offer high-paying online marketing jobs via social media and messaging systems. Victims would initially make small earnings and subsequently be required to recruit more members to earn commissions.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
Zscaler, AWS accelerate onramp to the cloud with zero trust
Zscaler has announced an extension to its relationship with Amazon Web Services, as well as innovations built on Zscaler's Zero Trust architecture.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Aqua Security, CIS create software supply chain security guide
Aqua Securityand the Center for Internet Security have together released the industry’s first formal guidelines for software supply chain security.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Threat actors ramp up their social engineering attacks
As people get better at identifying potential threats in their inbox, threat actors must evolve their methods. Their new M.O? Social engineering.
Story image
Commerce Commission
ComCom puts electronics sector on notice over resale price maintenance
The Commerce Commission has concluded an investigation into allegations that television manufacturers were engaging in illegal resale price maintenance.
Story image
N4L
N4L, Spark, Chorus partner for Hyperfibre school upgrade
Networks for Learning (N4L) has partnered with Spark and Chorus to upgrade Wellington College to Hyperfibre, fostering stronger outcomes for students and teachers.
Story image
B2B
Corpay partners with supply chain platform PracBiz Exchange
Corpay's new partnership with PracBiz’s allows more than 4000 B2B suppliers on the latter's platform to use Corpay's global payments services.
Story image
F5 Networks
Telstra, F5 team up to bolster services and solutions
“This partnership demonstrates our ongoing investment into APAC as we continue delivering high value services and solutions to our partners and customers."
Story image
INTERPOL
Hundreds arrested, millions seized in global INTERPOL investigation
A two-month-long investigation by INTERPOL this year involved 76 countries and clamped down on organised crime groups behind telecommunications and social engineering scams.
Story image
Cloud
Cloudflare outage in 19 data centers worldwide due to own error
Cloudflare says its outage for 19 of its data centers yesterday was because of a change in a long-running project to increase resilience in its busiest locations.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Significant security concerns resulting from open source software ubiquity
"The risk is real, and the industry must work closely together in order to move away from poor open source or software supply chain security practices."
Story image
eInvoicing
Airwallex, Xero extend partnership with easier invoice payments
Airwallex has extended its long-term partnership with Xero by releasing a new payment link integration for Xero invoices that will make receiving them easier and faster for Australian businesses.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Greater API usage raises concerns for protection - report
Radware has released its 2022 State of API Security report, which shows a rise in APIs, with 92% of the organisations surveyed significantly or somewhat increasing their usage.
Story image
Sustainability
Schneider Electric ups the ante on sustainability strategy
"We've made some progress but to avoid a major energy challenge, all data centres - including distributed edge data centres - must be more sustainable."
Story image
Data
How a single mandate changed software development forever
There’s conjecture about exactly when it was issued and by whom, but a mandate made twenty years ago is continuing to shape the software development process today.
Story image
Training
Employers look to hire inexperienced coders due to skills shortage
"Even inexperienced workers without prior qualifications or experience had managed to pivot to new roles in coding as long as they are willing to upskill."
Story image
DNS
DigiCert acquires DNS Made Easy and affiliated brands
Greg Clark comments, says, "This combination enhances the security of certificate validation and enables the automation of future validations."
Story image
Dark web
Cybercrime in Aotearoa: How does New Zealand law define it?
‘Cybercrime’ is a term we hear all the time, but what exactly is it, and how does New Zealand define it in legal terms?
Story image
Healthcare
Workday winning on culture and family focus
This family-first approach sees all employees receive access to family-wide private healthcare cover, as well as income protection and life insurance policies.
Story image
Market growth
Salesforce unveils new offerings for consumer goods companies
Salesforce has announced new products for consumer goods companies to help brands navigate increasing market complexity more easily.
Story image
Robotic Process Automation / RPA
rapidMATION helps Coates achieve success with landmark RPA solution
A strong Robotic Process Automation solution (RPA) can help solve many complex issues that businesses face daily. 
Story image
API
Industry-first comprehensive risk-based API security enhances protection
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a crucial part of operating web and mobile application businesses and are causing significant economic growth in the digital sector.
Story image
SaaS
Varonis strengthens security capabilities for AWS and S3
Varonis has strengthened and expanded its cloud and security capabilities, with a critical aim of improving safety and boosting data visibility in Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3).
Story image
Collaboration
IT and security team collaboration crucial to data security
Many IT and security decision makers are not collaborating as effectively as possible to address growing cyber threats.
Story image
Infrastructure
VMware wins Google Cloud partner award for infrastructure modernisation
The cloud computing and virtualisation company was recognised for its achievements as part of the Google Cloud ecosystem.
Story image
Microsoft
Volpara, Microsoft project to detect cardiovascular issues
Volpara Health Technologies is working with Microsoft on a research and development project to speed up creating a product that detects and quantifies breast arterial calcifications (BACs).
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Salesforce harnesses automated solutions with new developments
Salesforce has launched Sales Cloud Unlimited, a new feature to help accelerate productivity with AI and automation.
Story image
Hybrid workforce
Why hybrid working is here to stay and how to ace it
Citrix's new report reveals hybrid workers are more productive and engaged at work than their office and completely remote counterparts.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Why is NZ lagging behind the world in cybersecurity?
A recent report by TUANZ has revealed that we are ranked 56th in the world when it comes to cybersecurity - a look into why we're so behind and what needs to be done.
Story image
SaaS
Sealord partners with Infor to improve sustainability
Sealord has chosen Infor as a strategic partner to implement an operational cloud-based platform that provides day-one functionality and sustainability gains.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Cybersecurity priorities for digital leaders navigating digital transformation
In recent years, Asia-Pacific has especially been a hotspot for cyberattacks, and as we continue into 2022, it’s evident that the problem is becoming more significant.
Story image
Partnerships
Microsoft expands APAC Enabler Mentorship Program
"Mentors are the key to success for every professional. A good mentor is a coach, a guide, as well as a vocal advocate."
Story image
Entelar
How TruSens air purifiers can create healthier workspaces
The pandemic has heightened our awareness of our own and others’ health, and made us all much more conscious of the environments we work in.
Story image
Secure access service edge / SASE
Cloudflare adds new capabilities to zero trust SASE platform
New features for Cloudflare One include email security protection, data loss prevention tools, cloud access security broker, and private network discovery.
Story image
PagerDuty
Ready for anything with the PagerDuty Operations Cloud
In a world of digital everything, teams face increasing complexity. Ever-growing dependencies across systems and processes put customer and employee experience, not to mention revenue, at risk.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Boomi, Limepay, Thales, VMware & Zoom
We round up all job appointments from June 6-16, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Disaster Recovery
Eaton provides business continuity with disaster avoidance application
Many SMBs often struggle with problems relating to UPS and IT assets due to the sheer amount of time and resources required to run effectively. 
Story image
Electricity
Canstar finds Flick Electric NZ’s favourite provider
Canstar’s annual research to find New Zealand’s favourite electricity provider reveals Flick Electric has come out on top.
Story image
Shouta
The rise of digital gifting in the workplace
The name itself does most of the explaining; it’s a gift you receive virtually. But a misconception about digital gifts is that they need to be redeemed virtually as well. 
Story image
Citrix
The best ways to attract young talent during labour shortages
New research from Citrix reveals hybrid working and ventures into the metaverse are top of mind for Gen Z workers.
Story image
Government
Cyclone selected as NZ MOE software licensing partner
Following a recent Request for Proposal (RFP), Christchurch-based company Cyclone Computer Company Ltd (Cyclone) has been selected as The Ministry of Education’s software licensing partner.
Story image
CRM
Microsoft launches app for modern selling experience
The new release is designed to enhance CRM systems with customer engagement data from Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Ingram Micro launches vendor-backed security program
Ingram Micro has unveiled a new program intended to give resellers the effective offerings their customers need to stay safe in the evolving threat landscape.
Story image
Orbital Insight
Orbital Insight solution set to drive better data-driven decisions
The company says the new Site Intelligence solution will provide granular visibility, behaviour analytics and deep insights about customers and competitors at any location. 
Story image
Ransomware
Rapid7 report examines use of double extortion ransomware attacks
New insight into how attackers think when carrying out cyber attacks, along with further analysis of the disclosure layer of double extortion ransomware attacks, has come to light.