Financial and cyber crimes such as money laundering, ransomware, phishing and online scams are ranked either high or very high threats by over 60% of the respondents participating in a new study conducted by international police organization INTERPOL.
The study published in the inaugural edition of INTERPOL’s Global Crime Trend Report released in October 2022 leverages data from the organization's 195-country membership to map out current and emerging threats worldwide.
More than 70% of the respondents expect crimes such as ransomware and phishing attacks to increase or significantly increase in the next three to five years.
The report reveals that crime areas converge in complex and mutually reinforcing ways and understanding the complexity of these issues is crucial to inform collective decision-making by police worldwide.
Respondents ranked money laundering as the number one crime threat, with 67% ranking it ‘high’ or ‘very high’ in their list. Ransomware at 66% was the second highest-ranking threat and the crime threat expected to increase the most (72%).
Breaking down the results by five world regions, the INTERPOL report shows that while some crime threats rank highly across all geographical zones, others differ according to regional and national factors.
Financial crime was considered the top crime threat in the APAC region, specifically financial fraud and money laundering alongside the trafficking of synthetic drugs.
Cyber threats such as ransomware and phishing attacks, business email compromise, identity theft and online extortion are expected to increase or significantly increase in the future according to the law enforcement respondents from the APAC region.
INTERPOL secretary general Jürgen Stock said, “Understanding and pre-empting crime trends is an absolute bedrock of policing, and our new report offers an unparalleled picture of the global crime landscape as seen by police officers around the world.”
According to the report financial crimes and cyber crimes are invariably linked, as a significant amount of financial fraud takes place through digital technologies (making it ‘cyber-enabled’) and cyber criminals also depend on financial fraud to launder their illicit gains.
The report reveals that while ‘cyber crime-as-a-service’ is a well-known criminal concept, the pandemic has also hastened the emergence of ‘financial crime-as-a-service,’ including digital money laundering tools that can prove critical for criminals seeking to cash out.