IRS deploys cyber attachés to fight cybercrime abroad

The IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) announced Thursday that it will launch a pilot program in June in which cyber attachés will be sent across four continents to combat cyber crime.

The attachés will focus on cracking down tax and financial crimes that use cryptocurrency, decentralized finance, peer-to-peer payments and mixing services.

The four attachés will be deployed to Sydney; Singapore; Bogota, Colombia; and Frankfurt, Germany. They will work with law enforcement counterparts in Australia, Asia, South America and Europe.

“In order to effectively combat cybercrime, we need to ensure that our foreign counterparts have access to the same tools and expertise we have here in the United States,” CI Chief Jim Lee said in a statement.

The CI currently has one permanent cyber attaché at Europol headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands. The position was created in 2020 to build a partnership with CI’s European law enforcement counterparts.

The CI is the criminal investigative arm of the IRS that focuses on financial crimes, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, and health care fraud.

U.S. authorities have been cracking down on cyber criminals — especially those who use cryptocurrency to steal assets.

In March, the Department of Justice said it dismantled a darknet cryptocurrency mixer for enabling cyber criminals to launder more than $3 billion of cryptocurrency.

The department said it seized two domains that directed users to the mixing service, known as ChipMixer.

The agency added that ChipMixer was also involved in other illegal activities including ransomware, fraud, cryptocurrency heists and other hacking schemes.

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