Secret Service Creates Cyber Fraud Task Forces

secret service cyber fraud task forces

Traditional financial crime and cyberattacks are converging, requiring new skills and approaches to the problem, officials said.

The U.S. Secret Service has created the Cyber Fraud Task Forces (CFTFs), aimed at preventing, detecting and mitigating complex cyber-enabled financial crime – including making arrests and convictions.

The CFTF is the result of a formal merging of two of the Secret Service’s existing units into a single unified network. The Electronic Crimes Task Forces (ECTFs) and the Financial Crimes Task Forces (FCTFs), the division said in a recent media statement. The driver for the move is the fact that online cybercrime and financial fraud have converged to the point that it’s impossible to address one without including the other, it said.

“In today’s environment, no longer can investigators effectively pursue a financial or cybercrime investigation without understanding both the financial and internet sectors, as well as the technologies and institutions that power each industry,” officials said. “Secret Service investigations today require the skills, technologies and strategic partnerships in both the cyber and financial realms.”

In fact, nearly all of the Secret Service’s traditional financial crime investigations make use of digital evidence, and the group acknowledged that increasing technological sophistication on the part of bad actors has led to a proliferation of blended cyber-enabled financial crimes. Those include business email compromise (BECs) scams, ransomware attacks, data breaches and the sale of stolen credit cards and personal information on the internet.

“The creation of the new Cyber Fraud Task Forces (CFTF), will offer a specialized cadre of agents and analysts, trained in the latest analytical techniques and equipped with the most cutting-edge technologies,” said Michael D’Ambrosio, assistant director of the Secret Service. “Together with our partners, the CFTFs stand ready to combat the full range of cyber-enabled financial crimes. As the nation continues to grapple with the wave of cybercrime associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the CFTFs will lead the effort to hold accountable all those who seek to exploit this perilous moment for their own illicit gain.”

Keith McCammon, chief security officer and co-founder of Red Canary said that an overwhelming majority of threat actors are financially motivated.

“These criminals manipulate software, end users and a wide variety of financial services and technologies with increasing sophistication to achieve their objectives,” he said via email. “The wide variety of technical and financial systems in play can be viewed as complicating factors in investigations, and they are. But every system that a criminal uses presents an opportunity to identify, track and ultimately disrupt their operations.”

The Secret Service also said that it has broken up “hundreds” of COVID19-related cyber-fraud scams since March, when coronavirus lockdowns went into place around the country. It thus has prevented tens of millions of dollars in fraud from occurring, officials said.

In terms of specific wins, the Secret Service has halted the illicit sales of online stolen COVID-19 test kits, and is now leading a “nationwide effort to investigate and counter a vast transnational unemployment fraud scheme targeting the U.S. state unemployment programs,” according to the Secret Service.

The Secret Service has 42 domestic CFTF locations with two international locations, in London and Rome. The law-enforcement group said that it plans to further extend the CFTF network to include as many as 160 offices across the country and around the globe.

“Our success requires that investigators have a holistic understanding of modern criminal operations, from how they target and interact with victims to how they get paid, so that any mistake along the way can be used to the advantage of law enforcement,” McCammon said. “By combining the Financial and Electronic Crimes Task Forces, our expertise across domains can be leveraged more effectively, putting the Secret Service and its partners in a vastly improved position to understand, disrupt, and prosecute modern frauds.”

BEC and enterprise email fraud is surging, but DMARC can help – if it’s done right. On July 15 at 2 p.m. ET, join Valimail Global Technical Director Steve Whittle and Threatpost for a FREE webinar, “DMARC: 7 Common Business Email Mistakes.” This technical “best practices” session will cover constructing, configuring, and managing email authentication protocols to ensure your organization is protected. Click here to register for this Threatpost webinar, sponsored by Valimail.

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  • Dennis Hackney on

    Wait, what? Why does the Secrete Service have a crime division? That should be the FBI's job.
  • Kenneth Hillistad on

    Ive been a vuctim of cybwrfraud now going on 2 1/2 years it involves facebook the fbi the customs an fedex to name afew ive been in contact with the ceo of facebook the head pf the fbi the nsa an the ftc as well as the president of the usa mr.Dolald Trumph. But still i have not seen any real help in stipping these fraudesters as they are still in contact with me to this day the one has told me that i have till this weekend to make my final payment or i loose my winnings i have not made any payments for months now due to the fact that everytime i make a final payment im told that there was a accident our that customs now has my winnings an i need to pay more money to get my winnings this has cost me a great deal of money of which i cannot afford to piss away to some punks i believe im knowing whom some of these people are an i have a great deal of evidence to prove this by way of pictures textes money orders an gift cards. As well ive also compiled a great deal of phone nnnumbers an email addtess as well of those doing this to me im frustrated by the fact that ive been unable to get any real help in regirad to this matter even though. Ive made contact with those involved an that even though i see that things are being done through my efforts there is nothing being done about those responsible for these crimes an not only an i being ripped off for my winnings but my hard earned money as well im unable to afford the money it takes to hire a lawyer. Or investigator. To help aide me in this matter even though im very aware of whom some of these punks are an i dont know where else to turn to for help an im trying not to take the law into my own hands but im rumning out of options as to what i can do to seek justice as it seems to me that everyone im contacting has become lawless an dose not seem to care ive been approached by gang members an told to not bring the law into this matter but im not intimited by there threats i just need some legal an law enforcement help to seek justice some agemcy that still cares about what right an wants to see justice done as ive so far not seen happening due to the fact that im still being harassed please help me with this our direct me me the right ditection to a agency that will help as im at my wits end an would hate to see these punks get away with thete crimes an do it to someone else this has got to stop before someone gets hurt as im sure that is what will happen if i cannot get some kind of help in finding justice in this matter i pray that you can assist me or direct me in the right direction of someone that can as this involves 600000 00$ an a mecedezes suv as wl as at least 2 5000.00$ of my own personal hard ea t ned money of which i cannot afford to waste on some junkies addicition as that is were i fear my money has been going to im at my wits end an to the point that im ready

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