Interpol Warns that Trafficking for Cyber Fraud is Globalizing

Interpol Warns that Trafficking for Cyber Fraud is Globalizing

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The International Criminal Police Organization claims its first operation targeting human-trafficking-fueled cyber fraud shows that the criminal industry is going global, spreading beyond its origins in Southeast Asia, with scam centers emerging as far away as Latin America.

Interpol said law enforcement from over 20 countries carried out inspections at hundreds of trafficking and smuggling hotspots in October, many of which were known to be used to traffic victims to commit online fraud on an industrial scale “while enduring abject physical abuse.”

According to Cybernews, the coordinated operation led to hundreds of arrests, demonstrating the “expanding geographical footprint” of the crime. The organization provided 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.

Assistant Director of Vulnerable Communities at Interpol Rosemary Nalubega said that while most cases are still in Southeast Asia, “this modus operandi is spreading, with victims sourced from other continents and new scam centers appearing as far afield as Latin America.”

The phenomenon reportedly emerged in Southeast Asia, where according to the United Nations hundreds of thousands of people have been trafficked by criminal gangs and forced to work in scam centers and other illegal online operations. These fast-growing scam centers of the past few years are generating billions of US dollars in revenue each year.

Reuters published an investigation last month detailing the emergence of the crime and its financing, examining a case in which a crypto account registered in the name of a Chinese national in Thailand received millions of dollars from a crypto wallet that a US blockchain analysis firm said was linked to scams.

This information was provided by Cybernews.