October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month.
The Better Business Bureau receives calls daily from people who have been victims of internet crimes. Unfortunately due to limited staffing, the FBI is only pursuing crimes whose value exceeds $100,000.
Since most individual fraud is less than this, many of these crimes go unpunished.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is enhancing how they share and disseminate information to state and local agencies. The IC3 reports that in 2012 alone, victims reported more than $500 million in losses. This is likely far below true financial losses, either because victims do not know the IC3 exists, or out of fear of retribution from criminals. Internet Crimes include: Fraudulent Auto Sales, Intimidation/Extortion Scams, Online Dating Fraud, Scareware, Ransomware, Auction Fraud, Charity Fraud, and Computer Intrusions.
Don’t Be a Victim of Internet Crime.
· Be wary if you receive an e-mail telling you you’ve won a lottery or a contest, especially if you don’t remember entering.
· Don’t assume a company you’d like to do business with is legitimate based on the appearance of its website.
· When making online purchases, be wary if the seller only accepts cash or wire transfers.
· Go directly to a company’s official website by typing in the URL instead of clicking on a link from an unsolicited e-mail.
· Be cautious when asked to provide your personally identifiable information.
· Don’t believe promises of large sums of money in return for your cooperation.
· Be suspicious when additional fees are requested to complete a transaction.
· Be leery of requests of investment offers received through unsolicited e-mail.