FBI SLC says reports of ransomware attacks arrive there daily

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Whether it’s voicemail messages stating you’re eligible for a free giveaway, emails stating your account has been locked, or text messages stating your package is on the way, the Cybercriminals are always trying new tactics to trick you into giving them money.

Casey Harrington, the Cyber ​​Squad’s Special Agent for Surveillance at the FBI in Salt Lake City, said his team is focused on collecting cybercrime reports and analyzing trends in what they see.

“If anything has changed, it’s the amount that’s gone up and it’s the loss amounts that have increased dramatically. It used to be thousands of dollars and now it’s tens of thousands, ”Harrington said.

This amount of money is just cyber fraud, not ransomware.

This is where a hacker accesses a computer, locks important data, and demands a ransom to free it.

The FBI said they see reports about it almost daily in Utah and across the country, and they need you to report them in order to prosecute them.

“With the losses as high as they run into tens of millions of dollars, the punishment could be significant at this point,” Harrington said.

While it may be nearly impossible to get your money back by paying ransoms, as most of the requests are for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it is possible to get money back from other cyber scams. .

The FBI agent said, “We have a financial fraud chain that we have set up in conjunction with overseas partners where if we get the information fast enough, we can work with our partners and basically send that back. money to victims. “

Another trend the FBI is noticing is the rise of SMS scams, which are attacking our online shopping habits.

The FBI said it tends to hear about text messages sent to people by someone saying a shipment is arriving today, click here for tracking information.

But that link could take you to a website where you are asked to enter payment or login information, giving cyber crooks direct access to your money.

To prevent cyber attacks and cyber scams, the FBI recommends:

  • Keep the software up to date and use a good antivirus program.
  • Examine the email address and URLs in all correspondence. Scammers often mimic a legitimate website or email address by using a slight variation in the spelling.
  • If an unsolicited text message, email, or phone call asks you to update, verify, or verify your account information, do not follow the link provided in the message itself or call the numbers. phone provided in the message. Go to the company’s website to log into your account or call the phone number listed on the official website to see if anything really needs your attention.
  • Do not open any attachments unless you are waiting for the file, document, or invoice and you have verified the sender’s email address.
  • Review all electronic requests for payment or transfer of funds.
  • Be very suspicious of any message that calls for immediate action.
  • Confirm transfer or payment requests in person or over the phone as part of a two-factor authentication process. Do not verify these requests using the phone number provided in the payment request.

You can file complaints about cyber scams and ransomware attacks with the Internet Crime Complaint Center here.

About Marion Browning

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