Singapore joins Interpol-led task force to combat COVID-19 related scams

Singapore is joining an Interpol-led global financial crime task force which will be looking into a number of areas, including COVID-19-related scams, according to media reports.

The task force, initially comprising Singapore, the United States, UK and Ireland, will look at illicit money flows in transnational financial crimes and how countries can combat these crimes more effectively.
The task force, initially comprising Singapore, the United States, UK and Ireland, will look at illicit money flows in transnational financial crimes and how countries can combat these crimes more effectively. Photo: Connected to India

Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the city-state joining the task force due to a need for greater international cooperation against the rising threat of cyber fraud globally, Channel News Asia (CNA) reported.

The task force, initially comprising Singapore, the United States, UK and Ireland, will look at illicit money flows in transnational financial crimes and how countries can combat these crimes more effectively.

This comes as Interpol has seen an increasing trend of online COVID-19 vaccine scams as countries roll out their vaccination programmes, with the networks conducting these scams having possible financial links in Singapore and other major financial hubs, according to the Channel report.

Interpol said in a news release that cyber criminals have set up illicit websites claiming to be legitimate national or world organisations offering pre-orders for COVID-19 vaccines. These websites offer to get payment in Bitcoin and other processing methods.

“Using trademark logos of major pharmaceutical companies producing approved COVID-19 vaccines, the fake websites are suspected of being used to conduct phishing attacks and dupe victims into giving charitable donations,” Interpol said.

“In addition to opening up their computer to cyberattacks when attempting to purchase alleged COVID-19 vaccines online, people also run the risk of having their identity stolen,” it said.

Interpol secretary-general Jurgen Stock said in a statement that the networks behind these crimes have “global ambitions”.

“Interpol is assisting law enforcement around the world to both identify criminal networks and to dismantle them,” he said.

The world police body will also organise a global virtual meeting with its member countries to discuss the threats and disruption methods in this area.

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CtoI News Desk
CtoI News Desk – CtoI

Singapore-headquartered online media company targeting Indian Diaspora across Singapore, US, UK and Dubai. Connected to India covers developments around Indians abroad, informing, engaging and entertaining its audiences.

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