End of the bank robber? Interpol chief says criminals attack online and form gangs through dark web 'Yellow Pages'

12 March 2024, 17:34 | Updated: 12 March 2024, 17:36

Interpol chief Jurgen Stock has warned of new wave of criminal gangs using the dark web
Interpol chief Jurgen Stock has warned of new wave of criminal gangs using the dark web. Picture: alamy
Fraser Knight

By Fraser Knight

The head of Interpol has said temporary organised crime groups are being formed using a dark web version of the ‘Yellow Pages’.

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Secretary General Jurgen Stock says individuals are listing what they can do and kingpins are hand-picking them based on what crime they want to commit.

The head of the international group of law enforcers, warned the drastic change to criminality is making it difficult for police forces to catch those responsible for committing fraud, trafficking drugs and weapons and targeting vulnerable people.

“The classical bank robbery is about to die out,” he told reporters gathered in South London.

“When I was a young police officer it was still that we needed to be strong and run fast to catch the criminal in a 100-metre race and should not wear glasses. 

“In today’s world, we need IT experts in the police and we’re competing with the best IT companies for the best talents.

“You still need the swat team but we now cannot do our job without artificial intelligence.

“Without AI, it’s not going to be possible. It’s cat and mouse and the criminals are already using it for fraudulent activities – it will spread quite quickly.

“Our societies need to be prepared to address that threat.”

Secretary General Jurgen Stock
Secretary General Jurgen Stock. Picture: .

Fresh from attending a global fraud summit in London, Mr Stock said 70 per cent of the UK’s fraud crimes are committed from elsewhere in the world.

He described criminals, sitting by their computer at home, being able to target communities across the world “on an industrial scale”.

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“The beauty for the criminals is they can attack community by community, country by country, on an industrial scale with the tools available today.

“Many of these criminal groups, they systematically scan the globe and say first of all we approach the English-speaking countries, then the German-speaking countries and then we go further and do the Spanish-speaking ones.

“It’s all over the place - it’s a global epidemic - and it’s being done from a garage or a basement.”

The Secretary General also warned the private sector, like banks and social media platforms, need to do more to support the police.

He warned that sites like TikTok are being used “intensively” by criminals to approach and target vulnerable people - including when it comes to people smuggling.

He says gangs closely monitor domestic policies and will move when an area becomes “too hot”, but that the globalisation of criminal activity means they’ll just shift their tactics or move elsewhere to keep making money.

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