As cyber and financial crimes become increasingly intertwined, the Secret Service announced that it is merging its Electronic Crimes Task Force and Financial Crimes Task Force into a single task force, which will be known as the Cyber Fraud Task Force.

The new task force’s mission is to “prevent, detect, and mitigate complex cyber-enabled financial crimes, with the ultimate goal of arresting and convicting the most harmful perpetrators,” said the Secret Service, in a July 9 statement.

Like most of the Federal government, the Secret Service has pivoted to focus the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March, the Secret Service has focused its investigative efforts on “disrupting and deterring criminal activity that could hinder an effective response to the pandemic and to recover stolen funds from Americans.” The Secret Service says that the new task force allows for better data sharing, institutional alliance, and investigative skill development.

“The creation of the new Cyber Fraud Task Force (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 Secret Service Assistant Director Michael D’Ambrosio in a statement. “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.”

The Secret Service says as a result of its efforts, it has been able to disrupt hundreds of online COVID-19-related scams, investigate cyber fraud cases, halt the illicit sales of online stolen COVID-19 test kits, and prevent “tens of millions of dollars in fraud from occurring.”

Currently, the Secret Service has 42 domestic CFTF locations with 2 international locations, London and Rome. The Secret Service anticipates expanding the CFTF network to encompass 160 offices across the country and around the globe in the coming years.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.