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Last week, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) released its 2016 Crime Report on the different types of reported cybercrimes and their subsequent losses. In 2016, the IC3 received a total of 298,728 complaints with losses exceeding $1.3 billion. The top three types of cybercrime reported were non-payment and non-delivery, personal data breach, and payment scams, while the top types of cybercrime by reported loss were Business Email Compromise (BEC), romance and confidence scams, and non-payment and non-delivery scams.
Other types of cybercrime that wreaked havoc in 2016 are ransomware, tech support fraud, and extortion. Through tactics such as phishing emails, fraud tech support calls, and/or government impersonation schemes, victims are threatened with financial or physical harm or the release of personal information. Once they have control over the device, cyber criminals can install viruses, hold onto the application or threaten to destroy it unless a ransom is paid, usually with virtual currency as a payment mechanism, and can access financial accounts to wire funds. These tactics are only expected to evolve and grow in popularity as cyber threats become more deceiving. The IC3 has created an accessible report of complaints organized by state, so you can examine and be made aware of the top Internet crime trends in your area.
Here are some other patching and prevention tips to protect yourself from cybercrime:
• Be aware of what you post on social media. Make sure all media accounts are private,
require two-factor authentication, and use secure passwords.
• Be suspicious of opening email links or ZIP file attachments, even if the sender seems
to be someone you know. Verify if an email is legitimate by checking previous statements
for contact information and/or contacting a company directly.
• Patch your operating systems and applications with the latest security updates.
Older software is more vulnerable to attack.
• Be cautious in supplying personal or financial information on the Internet,
especially if a website is not secure. A website may look the same as a legitimate
site, but vary in URL spelling or domain.
• Install anti-virus software and firewalls to reduce susceptibility.
Only 15 percent of the nation’s cybercrime victims report their cases to law enforcement, though any report of Internet fraud to the IC3, no matter the dollar amount helps the FBI gain a better understanding of Internet crime. Victims are encouraged to file a complaint at https://www.ic3.gov/ and can take further actions to alleviate loss by contacting banks and/or credit card companies to block accounts, attempt to recover lost funds, and to track credit transactions.
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