From annoying phone calls to fake text that looks legitimate with every mouse click, the rise of online scams targeting personal information has become a big business for cybercriminals.
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, focusing on threats you need to know and actions you can take to protect yourself from being targeted online.
Every day, NBC 5 Responds receives phone calls and emails from fraudulent viewers, stealing personal information and sometimes even hard-earned money.
The Personal Information Theft Resource Center shows that if the pace continues, the surge in data breaches could reach record highs by the end of 2021.
“”Wherever there was an opportunity and vulnerability. Matt Desarno, Special Agent for the Dallas FBI Office, said:
Incidents are on the rise at their Internet Crime Complaint Center, well known as IC3.
In 2020, IC3 recorded a record number of complaints from Americans, reporting losses of over $ 4.1 billion and a 69% increase in total complaints from 2019.
“Phishing scams, we’re seeing higher quality scams with social engineering technology. That is, some of these scammers should learn about potential victims and click links. Some people spend a lot of time strengthening their scams, “says De Sarno.
“This is a 24/7 issue,” said Lisa Plaggemier, Interim Secretary-General of the National Cybersecurity Alliance. “Unfortunately, cybercrime is increasing year by year.”
Many phishing scams appear to be legal, as cybercriminals have deposited with banks that victims will be suspended and not investigated, Plaggemier said.
“If something doesn’t seem to be true or you feel sick, pick up the phone and call the entity or person instead of the number that might be in the suspicious email, and this is really from you Is it? “Pragemier said.
Cyber experts say it’s time to step up efforts to raise awareness.
“The simple steps most people can take are actually very few. If they take some of these simple steps, they will have a big impact on cybercrime,” said Pragemier. increase.
How to protect yourself
These simple steps begin by digging into all your accounts, including email, banking, and social media apps.
Basically, where you need to enter your username and password.
According to experts, MFA, multi-factor authentication should be set up. This is an additional step to verify your identity.
If you have multiple accounts, consider using a password manager. All passwords are stored in one secure location, so you don’t have to create a new password for each account.
And no matter how busy you are, always take the time to perform regular software updates.
“When you see a small nasty pop-up telling you to update. Well, don’t ignore them. Most people ignore them. And the problem is that most of those updates are security updates. That’s what Plaggemier said.
If you find yourself a victim of cybercrime, you need to report it.
“One of the keys to blocking this is to report it and report it to the email provider where the fish came. Gmail added it. So when you open the email, the pull-down menu So you can see how you can not only report spam, but also report it as a fish, “says Plaggemier.
You can go one step further and report to FBIIC3.
“If you’re a victim of all sorts of scams and cyber attacks, it’s a really good place for the general public to go,” says De Sarno. “Clicking to file a complaint will pop up a form where you can talk about the victim’s information. Whatever you know about who committed the scam against you, the details of the case, and the amount of the loss. . “
The report also helps the FBI track trends.
“You can also use that large amount of data to identify who, which organization, or whether there are organizations behind them, and target those organizations to determine the root cause of the problem. You can, “says De Sarno. ..
Consider discussing with your family this month about the #becybersmart method. If something is too good to be true, don’t be afraid to ask someone what you think.
NBC 5 Responds is committed to investigating your concerns and recovering your money. Our goal is to provide answers and, if possible, solutions and solutions. Please call 844-5RESPND (844-573-7763) or fill out your complaint form.