SCARS™ Report: Over 67,000 Scammers Arrested In 2020
SCARS has completed its preliminary year-end report on the number of scammers arrested during 2020
It is much better than we thought it was going to be!
We expected a very poor showing during this pandemic year where law enforcement was both restricted and totally focused on helping to protect their countries from the COVID-19 virus. Instead what we found was significant efforts worldwide. And even though the totals were less than 2019, we found a much more balanced and cooperative effort globally.
2020 was the year that global law enforcement got serious about scams!
There were TWO MAJOR BRIGHT SPOTS:
- China reported over 30,000 scammers arrested inside of the PRC.
- Interpol reported more than 20,000 scammers arrested worldwide (outside of the PRC).
Overall, SCARS estimates that the current number of scammers, fraudsters, and cyber fraud criminals that have been arrested during 2020 is: 67,000
Here is Interpol’s summary report:
More than 20,000 arrests in year-long global crackdown on phone and Internet scams
Targeting rising trends in telephone and online scams, Operation First Light intercepted over 150 million dollars in illicit funds.
LYON, France: A year-long investigative clampdown on criminal networks coordinated by INTERPOL has demonstrated the scale of phone and online frauds worldwide.
Codenamed First Light, the Interpol operation officially concluded in November with the following results:
- 10,380 locations raided
- 21,549 operators, fraudsters and money launderers arrested
- 310 bank accounts frozen
- USD$ 153,973,709 worth of illicit funds intercepted.
This latest edition of Operation First Light marked the first time law enforcement has coordinated with INTERPOL on a global scale to combat telecoms fraud, with operations taking place on every continent.
A three-month enforcement phase (1 September – 30 November 2019) saw 35 countries participate in a coordinated crackdown on organized crime groups engaged in various types of telecommunications and social engineering scams.
This was followed by a year (2020) of intensive information sharing among participating countries, analyzing the intelligence acquired in the operation in order to identify suspects and pursue investigative leads.
Based on the criminal techniques uncovered, INTERPOL also issued three Purple Notices on telephone scams, investment fraud and fraud schemes taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Purple Notices provide information on objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals – information that law enforcement organizations can access through INTERPOL’s secure I-24/7.
Other types of fraud exposed in the operation include business e-mail compromise, romance scams and ‘smishing’, where standard messaging service (SMS) messages are sent to coerce a victim to divulge personal information that can subsequently be fraudulently used.
In Singapore, police arrested a man who presented false INTERPOL credentials when accompanying an elderly woman into a bank for a withdrawal. A further investigation found that the man appeared to be himself the victim of fraudsters who had called him pretending to be Chinese law enforcement agents, provided him with the fraudulent identification and directed him to seize the elderly woman’s funds.
A transnational threat
The results underscored the transnational nature of many telephone and online scams, where perpetrators often operate from a different country or even continent than their victims.
Leveraging the borderless nature of the Internet, fraudsters rarely respect national jurisdictions in their scams. The money extracted from victims is also likely to involve multiple countries as criminals use overseas bank accounts or money mules to launder their funds.
“It is important for member countries to remember that they are not alone in combatting these frauds,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock.
“INTERPOL’s global network exists to support one another in precisely this situation, with the timely sharing of police information and intelligence, particularly when it crosses one or more jurisdictions,” added Secretary General Stock.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has seen telecommunications and social engineering frauds multiply. Operation First Light has achieved remarkable success in the past year yet, going forward, a much broader global coalition of law enforcement – facilitated by INTERPOL – will be needed to combat these threats,” said Duan Daqi, Head of the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Beijing.
This represents an overall escalation in enforcement, even though results were lower.
Our expectations are that in 2021, because of the greater unification of data sharing, that the results will exceed 2019.
This is important because it is also expected by the cybersecurity industry that 2021 funds lost to cybercriminals will reach USD$6 Trillion.
TAGS: SCARS, SCARS Analytics, Information About Scams, Anti-Scam, Scams, Scammers, Fraudsters, Cybercrime, Crybercriminals, Romance Scams, Scam Victims, Scammers Arrested, Interpol, Law Enforcement, Cyber Fraud
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FAQ: How Do You Properly Report Scammers?
It is essential that law enforcement knows about scams & scammers, even though there is nothing (in most cases) that they can do.
Always report scams involving money lost or where you received money to:
- Local Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
- U.S. State Police (if you live in the U.S.) – they will take the matter more seriously and provide you with more help than local police
- Your National Police or FBI « www.IC3.gov »
- The SCARS|CDN™ Cybercriminal Data Network – Worldwide Reporting Network on « www.Anyscam.com »
This helps your government understand the problem, and allows law enforcement to add scammers on watch lists worldwide.
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To learn more about SCARS visit « www.AgainstScams.org »
Please be sure to report all scammers
on « www.Anyscam.com »
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