A local reader recently asked a question, hoping to learn whether a message they received was a scam.

The reader was contacted by someone claiming to be an INTERPOL agent, who alleged that there were 2 cases held against the reader for committing several crimes. The reader was reached through WhatsApp, where the “agent” demanded 2 thousand dollars to close the cases or the reader would be arrested.

To answer the reader’s question, it is necessary first to understand that all civilian communication with INTERPOL regarding Red Notices takes place through the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (CCF). INTERPOL will never contact a person to advise them that he or she is the subject of an INTERPOL notice, nor is it INTERPOL’s role to do so. INTERPOL’s role regarding Red Notices is to maintain the data submitted by its member countries in aid of the law enforcement efforts of those countries.

Unless they are of the small percentage of Red Notice Subjects displayed on INTERPOL’s website (interpol.int), the primary method of determining if one is a Red Notice subject is to inquire with INTERPOL’s CCF directly. 

It also must be understood that to remove a Red Notice, a subject cannot pay an INTERPOL agent for two reasons:

  1. INTERPOL agents of this type do not exist, as the organization is a data-sharing agency, and domestic law enforcement officials are the people charged with taking action to detain, arrest, or extradite people. 
  2. To remove a Red Notice, a subject must contact INTERPOL’s CCF with a removal request, which the CCF would then review and return having either accepted or denied said request. 

Although the threat of being arrested could have easily elicited a response out of fear, the reader’s suspicion was valid. The type of communication is a scam, and the reader .

As always, thoughts and comments are welcomed.