The Springfield Regional Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) marks Cyber Security Awareness Month in October by reminding the public to take extra precautions to protect themselves against online attacks and scams.
Illinois Ranks Fifth in the United States for Most Internet Crime Victims, and Sixth for Total Victim Losses with over $ 150 Million, According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center’s 2020 Report . Identity theft was the most common, followed by non-payment / non-delivery crimes. In terms of lost dollars, business email compromise tops the list.
Internet crimes and cyber intrusions are constantly evolving and while the FBI is focusing on lasers to stay ahead of the trends, there are steps the public can take to avoid becoming a victim.
- Be extremely careful in online communication. Check the sender of an email. Criminals sometimes change a single letter in an email address to make it look like the one you know.
- Do not open any attachments unless you are waiting for the file, document, or invoice and you have verified the sender’s email address.
- If an unsolicited text message or email asks you to update, verify, or verify your account information, do not follow the link provided in the message itself or call the phone numbers 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.
- Review all electronic requests for payment or transfer of funds.
- 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.
- Be very suspicious of any message that calls for immediate action.
- One of the most prevalent patterns during the pandemic has been government imitators. Criminals contact people through social media, emails, or phone calls masquerading as the government. Scammers attempt to collect personal information or illicit money through charades or threats.
- Do not share your personal information with unknown sources.
- Configure your devices, software, and apps to update automatically.
- Use strong passwords or passphrases and / or multi-factor authentication.
- Take the time to read the consumer and industry alerts provided by the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Report cyber crimes to the FBI through the Internet Crime Complaints Center. Not only will this allow your complaint to be directed appropriately, but the IC3 data has helped guide the FBI’s response to cyber crimes while educating the public and supporting local law enforcement with a database. searchable information.
For more information on cybersecurity, visit the FBI Cyber and Security Scams and Precautions page.