Skip to main content

Major Interpol operation nabs alleged scammers and cash

Interpol has revealed the results of a massive crackdown on social engineering scams that led to the interception of around $50 million worth of illicit funds, the arrest of 2,000 suspects, and the freezing of some 4,000 bank accounts.

The probe, codenamed First Light 2022, spanned 1,770 locations in 76 countries and took place across two months from March 8 to May 8, Interpol revealed this week.

Phones and other digital devices seized during Interpol's investigation into social engineering scams.
Some of the phones and other digital devices seized during Interpol’s investigation into social engineering scams. Interpol

Social engineering scams involve the perpetrators tricking victims into giving up sensitive information, often with the aim of committing financial fraud. Criminals can approach victims in various ways, though emails, messaging, and phone calls are the most common methods. Both companies and individuals can be targeted in social engineering scams, and in some cases victims end up unwittingly transferring huge amounts of cash to the criminals’ accounts.

Interpol said it raided a number of call centers suspected of telecommunications or scamming fraud, with many of the facilities allegedly engaged in telephone deception, romance scams, e-mail deception, and related financial crimes.

Citing some of its successful stings, Interpol said that Singapore police used gathered intelligence to rescue 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 1.5 million euros (about $1.6 million) ransom.”

In another case, cops arrested a Chinese national suspected of involvement in a Ponzi scheme estimated to have defrauded around 24,000 victims out of 34 million euros (about $35.6 million).

Rory Corcoran, director of Interpol’s Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Centre, said crimes of this nature are a “serious concern for many countries and have a hugely damaging effect on economies, businesses and communities.”

Corcoran added: “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.”

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Best Alienware deals: Gaming PCs, laptops, and monitors
Alienware Aurora R15 placed at an angle on a table.

With such a massive amount of products to pick from, Dell has pretty much anything you could want when it comes to computing, from gaming laptops, gaming PCs, headsets, and even gaming chairs, so you have a ton of options. That said, Alienware is the premium brand of Dell, and while it is some of the best stuff on the market, it's also quite expensive, which is why we've collected a few of our favorite deals below. That said, if you can't quite find what you're looking for below, it's also worth checking out some of these other gaming laptop deals and gaming PC deals, too.
Alienware AW920H wireless gaming headset -- $180, was $200

A gaming headset is a great way to keep in touch with your friends while you play. The Alienware AW720H gaming headset lets you do so without the burden of wires, as it connects to your gaming setup via Bluetooth. It has a built-in microphone for outgoing communications, as well as Dolby Atmos, Surround Sound, and Stereo Sound options to help immerse you in the game and incoming communications.

Read more
This powerful business laptop from Dell is $650 off today
A woman using a laptop connected to a Dell 24 video conferencing monitor.

Whether you’re running your very own business, or you’re the dutiful employee of a bustling company, one thing that all professionals can benefit from is a fast and powerful laptop. Fortunately, Dell laptop deals are where you’ll be able to score some of the best portable PCs for ultra-competitive prices. In fact, we came across this terrific offer from Dell today: the Dell Latitude 7340 Laptop. Normally, you’ll pay upwards of $1,670 on this machine. This week, Dell marked it down to $1,020, saving you $650. 

Why you should buy the Dell Latitude laptop
Screen space is one of the most important criteria when shopping for a new laptop. Not only should you get a computer that has a big-enough display to satisfy your wants and needs (we've got a great list of monitor deals if you need something bigger), but said display should be bright and colorful too. Fortunately, the Latitude 7340 checks both boxes, thanks to its 13.3-inch FHD+ screen. With its 1,920 x 1,200 pixel spread, you’re getting resolution a few notches above 1080p HD! As far as peak brightness goes, you’ll only get around 250 nits; so we’d advise against using the PC in direct sunlight. 

Read more
I compared ChatGPT against Google Gemini to see which is the better free AI chatbot
A person typing on a laptop that is showing the ChatGPT generative AI website.

Two of the leading AI chatbots available today come from Google, with its Gemini system, and OpenAI, the company that kicked off the AI revolution with ChatGPT.
But you might be wondering which is the better free chatbot. I've spent a significant time with both to see how they compare, break down the costs and benefits of each service, explain what features you'll have to pay for and which you get for free, and show you which AI is best for what you need.

Pricing and tiers
Both ChatGPT and Gemini are available to the public for free at their respective websites and through their mobile apps. However, free tier users will only receive limited access to the most current and capable models.

Read more