Terrorists use social media to raise funds

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Terrorist organisations are now turning to social media to raise funds, revealed a report by a risk advisory service.

In a note released Monday, the Camstoll Group, which advises governments, financial institutions and companies on risk management, said financial institutions should consider if their analytical capabilities can monitor social media for data related to money laundering as well as counter-terrorism finance risk management.

“In many cases, social media-disseminated fundraising materials instruct supporters to transfer funds to accounts at regional banks that, in turn, maintain international correspondent relationships,” said Camstoll.

A Treasury spokeswoman said the Obama administration is closely monitoring social media and other emerging technologies for the use of terrorism fundraising.

In addition to raising awareness of this growing trend, US government officials have also discussed the phenomenon with the private sector. She noted that no reputable business would want to have any part in financing terrorism.

David Cohen, the US undersecretary of treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the problem is “particularly challenging” because social networks allow any individual “with an Internet connection to set himself up as an international terrorist financier.”

In social media campaigns included in Camstoll’s report, fundraisers advertise their support for militants, name the leaders behind the efforts, and include details on the use of proceeds such as training fighters or purchasing weapons.

The report said some fundraising appeals also provide bank transfer instructions in which they identify the banks as well as account numbers where donations can be sent.

Among those cited in the report is a Qatar-based campaign on Twitter that calls for donations to “arm the Mujahideen”. The solicitation for said campaign included phone numbers and contact names in addition to wire transfer instructions for international donations.

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