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Social engineering fraud

‘Social engineering fraud’ is a broad term that refers to the scams used by criminals to trick, deceive and manipulate their victims into giving out confidential information and funds.

Criminals exploit a person’s trust in order to find out their banking details, passwords or other personal data.

Scams are carried out online – for example, by email or through social networking sites – by telephone, or even in person.

Working with the private sector

The different types of fraud are often carried out by multiple fraudsters, with people in different countries handling the different stages of the crime. Given the difference in legislation between nations, this is a complicated type of international crime to investigate.

It is difficult to estimate the loss to individuals and companies as victims are often reluctant to report the crime, but total global losses are estimated to run to billions of dollars or euros per year.

What the industry is doing

INTERPOL is supporting a campaign started by a group of affected companies against the misuse of their company names for lottery scams. The Advance Fee Fraud Coalition includes the African Development Bank, Microsoft Corporation, the Western Union Company, and Yahoo!.

The Coalition has two main aims:

  • To raise public awareness and so prevent people falling victim to this type of scam;
  • To encourage victims to report their cases both to police in their home country and to the company in question. The data will then be passed on to INTERPOL, in order for the Organization to initiate and support international investigations.

The importance of collecting data

Scams are often carried out by Internet, mobile device or cell phone, and it is essential to gather as much related data as possible. For example:

  • Complete communication records (individual message content could lead directly to the perpetrators);
  • All e-mail addresses involved;
  • All telephone numbers involved;
  • Postal addresses;
  • Personal data of the scammers.

We strongly encourage the public, private sector and police agencies – especially High-Tech Crime units – to share as much information as possible, in order to curb this fast-growing type of crime.

News
17 diciembre 2015

Más de 500 detenidos en una operación de INTERPOL contra las estafas por teléfono y por e-mail


03 diciembre 2015

INTERPOL training on detecting fake documents aims to enhance border security


25 noviembre 2015

Experts gather at INTERPOL to identify emerging social engineering fraud techniques


18 noviembre 2015

Indian prime minister and INTERPOL Chief discuss cooperation


18 noviembre 2015

La cooperación internacional para la recuperación de activos, objetivo de la conferencia INTERPOL-StAR


06 noviembre 2015

More than 130 detained in global action tackling airline ticket fraud


02 octubre 2015

Identifying fake documents focus of INTERPOL and Frontex workshop


21 septiembre 2015

INTERPOL training in Senegal tackles corruption and financial crimes


06 agosto 2015

Corruption and financial crime focus of INTERPOL training in Botswana


04 agosto 2015

Illegal online gambling in Asia targeted in INTERPOL operation


02 julio 2015

Forensic document examination focus of Balkans INTERPOL training


29 junio 2015

Global action against online air ticket fraudsters sees 130 detained


05 junio 2015

INTERPOL group to field test new ink dating protocols to aid fraud and forgery investigations


02 junio 2015

UK initiative underlines role of due diligence in securing official documents


19 mayo 2015

Reunión de INTERPOL en Bucarest para marcar el rumbo de la seguridad europea


30 enero 2015

Estonia hosts INTERPOL workshop on anti-corruption and financial crimes


28 noviembre 2014

Global action against online fraud in the airline sector nets 118 arrests


16 septiembre 2014

International cooperation against counterfeit currency and travel documents focus of INTERPOL meeting


22 mayo 2014

El examen microscópico de los documentos de seguridad, tema central de una reunión de INTERPOL


30 abril 2014

Desmantelada con la ayuda de INTERPOL una red criminal implicada en una estafa con tarjetas de pago


If you receive an email from someone claiming to represent INTERPOL, requesting personal information or bank account information, you should ignore it and treat it as spam.

Questions and answers