Beginning this summer, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will dispatch four agents with experience conducting cybercrime investigations to several nations.
The IRS has strengthened its worldwide measures to battle cybercrimes that make use of digital currencies, DeFi, and crypto-laundering services by hiring four fresh officers with experience in cybercrime examination. The IRS’s ability to combat cybercrime on a global level will be significantly improved by this action.
The IRS’s Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) segment has been instrumental in uncovering crimes on the Dark Web through various international operations. These operations include the shutdown of the AlphaBay marketplace for drugs and malware services and the capture of its administrator, as well as the takedown of a marketplace for stolen Social Security numbers. Agents from the IRS-CI have played a pivotal role in these operations.
Until now, the IRS has only had one cyber inspector based in The Hague, Netherlands, who primarily collaborates with Europol. However, the addition of the four new agents will significantly enhance the IRS’s cybercrime investigation capabilities. Guy Ficco, the IRS’s executive director for worldwide operations policy and support for IRS-CI, announced the expansion during a panel at the Chainalysis Links event on April 4th.
A 120-day trial project that will take place from June to September 2023 will include the four new roles. The posts were established to assist in the battle against the use of cryptocurrencies, decentralized financing, and the blending of services in international financial and tax crimes. The experimental initiative, according to IRS spokesperson Carissa Cutrell, intends to examine the viability of placing agents overseas.
The IRS will decide whether to maintain the presence of the agents in the new nations after the 120-day pilot program. The success of the program will determine whether the IRS will continue to expand its foreign presence.
The expansion of the IRS’s foreign presence is a crucial step towards expediting international investigations, according to Chris Janczewski, a special agent who served in the IRS-CI Cyber Crimes Unit. The presence of agents in different countries will help the IRS to collaborate more effectively with local law enforcement agencies to disclose and impeach cybercriminals.
The IRS has 11 attaché positions worldwide besides the five cyber detectives, including ones in Mexico, Canada, China, Germany, Australia, and other nations. The IRS can better coordinate with local law enforcement thanks to these postings to fight financial and tax crimes.