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OPERATION CYBER SWEEP:
Fighting eCrimes Across the Globe

11/20/03

A graphic for Operation Cyber Sweep.First, we brought you Operation E-Con in May '03, a worldwide roundup of cyber criminals in over 90 different coordinated cases; involving some 90,000 victims and a total of over $176 million in financial losses.

Now, Operation Cyber Sweep. Again, the numbers are staggering:

            • More than 125 investigations;
            • Some 125,000 victims worldwide;
            • More than $150 million in losses; and
            • More than 125 arrests or convictions . so far.

The Announcement. On Thursday, Jana Monroe, Assistant Director of the FBI's Cyber Division, joined Attorney General Ashcroft, FTC Commissioner Tim Muris, U.S. Postal Service Chief Inspector Lee Heath, and Deputy Inspector General Patrick Acheampong of the Ghana Police Department in announcing this major cyber crackdown. AD Monroe called the initiative a "great stride" in the battle against online economic crimes, made possible by growing partnerships with the cyber community and with national and international law enforcement agencies.

A sampling of the cases and crimes:

  • Re-shipping scams: organized crime groups used phony credit cards to buy online goods; recruited often unwitting citizens to receive the goods; and then had these individuals re-ship the products to places (often overseas) where criminals picked them up. Total U.S. e-commerce losses from these scams are estimated at half-a-billion dollars.
  • Investment fraud: an online investment company promised investors huge returns from overseas day trading, but simply took their money and ran. Some 26,000 victims worldwide lost a total of $50 million in the scam.
  • Cyber extortion: A computer security consulting company hacked into the online systems of 70 different businesses and such federal agencies as Army, NASA, and the Department of Energy. The criminals then demanded money to protect these systems from harm.
  • Cheating heart software: More than 1,000 people bought an illegal $89 software service designed to "catch a cheating lover." The service enabled these individuals to send up to five electronic greeting cards that secretly installed a program on their significant other's computer to log their every keystroke.

Our partners.

  • More than 100 federal, state, and local agencies, departments, and task forces, ranging from the Alabama State Attorney General's Office to the Internal Revenue Service to the West Virginia Cyber Crimes Task Force;
  • A host of private sector companies and cyber industry watchdogs; and
  • Agencies in several foreign nations, including Ghana, Nigeria, Canada, Romania, and Greece.

Calling All Citizens.

As always, we encourage anyone with information on individuals committing crimes in cyberspace to call your local FBI office or to report the information online at the Internet Fraud Complaint Center, a partnership between the National White Collar Crime Center and the FBI. In the first nine months this year, the IFCC has already referred more Internet-related fraud complaints (58,392) to the appropriate law enforcement agency than it did during all of 2002.

Links: The Press Release | Assistant Director Monroe's Remarks | Cyber Sweep Operation