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$130 Million of Virtual Assets Seized and 1,000 Arrests in Interpol Crackdown on Cyber Crime

Interpol has announced that they have successfully seized $130 million worth of virtual assets and made nearly 1,000 arrests during a Global Police operation targeting cybercrime, threat actors, and associated money laundering activities.

This cyber security news was revealed by the international police organization in a press release on their website this Thursday. The “HAECHI-III” operation took place between June 28 and November 23 of this year and resulted in the closure of over 1,600 open cases.

The International Operation Investigated a Wide Range of Cyber Crimes Across the Globe.

A total of 975 arrests were made as police across the globe investigated crimes related to cyber security threats, such as identity theft, investment fraud, phishing, romance fraud, bogus crypto wallets, and impersonation scams.

The operation also concentrated on locating online money laundering of illegally derived assets. Interpol accounted that confiscation of assets during the raids included approximately $37,000 of assets on varied digital wallets and 25.83 Bitcoin.

This successful operation was announced a year after the global policing organization arrested over 1,000 threat actors and over $27 million in illegal assets in the preceding “HAECHI-II” operation.

The organization highlighted some cyber security crimes and criminals identified during the initiative. These included:

  • The arrest of Red Notice fugitives in Greece and Italy for their involvement in a worldwide Ponzi scheme that embezzled 28 Million EUR from 2,000 victims in Korea.
  • Detainment of a group of online cyber criminals in India who had impersonated Interpol to persuade online victims to transfer $159,000 worth of online gift cards, cryptocurrency, and transfers

The Operation Has Seen the Launch of Interpol’s ARRP Stop Payment Mechanism

During the operation, global investigators pilot-tested and launched ARRP (the Anti-Money Laundering Rapid Response Protocol) Global Stop Payment Mechanism. This helps international police forces to collaborate and restrict the ability of cyber criminals to access their illegal assets. Interpol highlighted an ARRP success that allowed police in the UK and Ireland to trace and return 1.2 Million EUR stolen in company email scams.

Emerging Cyber Crime Trends Were Identified During the Global Police Initiative

The months-long investigation further enhanced the importance of cyber security protections as new forms of online crimes emerged, including impersonation scams and related extortion, sextortion and romance frauds, and online investment frauds.

Interpol highlighted a surge in investment fraud using instant messaging apps and cryptocurrency wallets for making payments. In its statement, Interpol emphasized the importance of cyber security initiatives conducted by law enforcement agencies across the globe. And highlighted how these effective arrests of cyber security threat actors hinted at further victories ahead.

The operation is a three-year, globally focused initiative supported by Korea and involves the participation of countries across the globe. Participating member countries in the HAECHI-III operation included Australia, France, Greece, Korea, India, the UK, the US, Poland, Thailand, and Sweden.

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