A crime committed or facilitated via the Internet is a cyber crime.

Cyber crimes can range from fraud to unsolicited emails (spam). Cyber crime incorporates anything from illegal downloads to stealing millions of dollars from online bank accounts. Through advanced systems, tech-savvy criminals are anonymous and can do great harm. The sheer size of the Internet and number of users makes it impossible for one agency to monitor and prevent every scam and criminal on the Internet. Thus, the responsibility falls on individuals to protect themselves.

Common Types of Cyber Crime:

* Digital intellectual property theft, including hacking and piracy

* Fraud and identity theft, including phishing schemes

* Cyberbullying

Who Are the Victims?

Ninety percent of businesses admitted to being victimized at least once.

Sixty-five percent of personal Internet users have been victimized.

Seventy-three percent of Americans have reported being a victim of a cyber crime.

How to Stay Safe:

Keep computer systems up to date.

Cyber criminals will use software flaws to attack computer systems. By updating software programs regularly, you can stay ahead of the criminals who exploit flaws in older systems.

Choose a strong password and protect it.

User names, passwords, and personal identification numbers (PINs) are used for almost every online transaction. A strong password is at least eight characters and contains both numbers and letters. Using the same username and password for multiple sites puts you at higher risk of having your password hacked. Change your password every 90 days to limit the window of opportunity for criminals to gain access.

Keep your firewall turned on.

It’s no use to have a firewall and antivirus system if you don’t have them turned on. Firewalls protect your computer from hackers trying to gain access to crash it, delete information, or steal sensitive information.

Protect personal information.

Most online sites now require us to share personal information such as name, address, phone number, and email address. When in doubt about supplying this information, either don’t do it or call the organization to verify authenticity. Misspellings or grammatical errors are good indicators of a scam.

Note URLs.

Any financial transaction website should have an “s” after the “http” (e.g., https://www.mystore.com). The “s” stands for secure and should appear when you are in an area that requires you to log in or provide sensitive data. Another sign of a secure website is the small lock icon at the bottom of your web browser.

Review financial statements regularly.

Look over your credit card and bank statements regularly. Noticing any peculiar or fraudulent charges immediately reduces the impact of identity and credit card theft. And remember to check your credit report at least annually.

%d bloggers like this: