Traditional bank robbery dying out as fraudsters use tech on industrial scale

The traditional bank robbery is dying out as fraudsters instead operate international scam centres on an industrial scale, the head of Interpol has said.

In a rare briefing with UK media, Jurgen Stock explained that unsuspecting victims apply for advertised jobs abroad, only to find themselves with their passport taken away and forced to work in the centres.

Around 70% of fraud in the UK is committed by criminals abroad, with £3 billion lost to overseas accounts last year.

He said: “The threat is becoming more complex, becoming more international than ever.

“This is only going to continue in a digitalised world (with) unprecedented opportunities for criminals to attack our systems.”

He added: “The classic bank robbery is about to die out… It’s much easier to attack the bank online.”

Some gangs target countries region by region, meaning that international law enforcement networks could be used to provide early warnings about future threats.

“They can attack community by community, country by country on an industrial scale, with the tools that are now today available,” Mr Stock said.

“That is the new challenge. It’s not maybe with 100 victims, no it’s all over the place.

“That is why I’ve been talking about a global epidemic.

“And you can sit at home, in your basement, in your garage, in your scam centre, and you can attack country by country maybe based on language skills in your scam centre, and so on.

“That is industrial scale criminality in the 21st century.”

Fraud represented 38% of recorded crime in the UK last year, affecting three million victims and costing them £2.5 billion.

Tech firms including Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, TikTok and LinkedIn were also in attendance at the summit on Monday and Tuesday, alongside banks HSBC, NatWest, Santander, and other financial organisations including Visa.

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