May 27, 2023

Last year, Americans lost $10.3 billion due to internet scams, according to the FBI. This is the highest amount of losses in five years, according to the report published by the FBI.

More than 2,000 complaints come into the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) per day. Over the last five years, 651,800 complaints are made each year. The most reported crime was phishing.

Phishing occurs when companies or people fraudulently use texts, phone calls or emails to trick people into giving them their information. For example, a fake email may look like a real email from a certain person or company but will give an unsecured link. This link can then receive private details such as bank
information. The FBI report lists that 300,497 victims reported more than $52 million in total losses in 2022. Data breaches claimed 58,859 victims, while non-payment scams claimed 51,679 victims.

Another issue is ransomware. Ransomware is a type of cyber intrusion that locks up a device’s data until a ransom is paid. This is a concern for cybersecurity professionals due to the under-reporting of ransomware attacks by victims. Only 2,385 cases were reported with losses of more than $34.3 million. The healthcare industry is targeted the most, followed by critical manufacturing and the government.

“The IC3 has seen an increase in an additional extortion tactic used to facilitate ransomware,” the IC3 said. “The perpetrators pressure victims to pay by threatening to publish the stolen data if they do not pay the ransom.”

The report gives actions that people can do to protect themselves from ransomware. The FBI advises people to update their software, implement user training on risks, secure their Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), which allows you to connect to another computer over the network connection, and make an offline backup of data.

Phone scams that primarily come from India are responsible for over $1 billion in losses. These scams mostly target the elderly, who have lost $1.3 billion.

“Call centers overwhelmingly target the elderly, with devastating effects,” the report says. “Almost half the victims report to be over 60 (46%) and experience 69% of the losses (over $724 million).”

The FBI has a 73% success rate of getting money back, but how can the CBU community protect themselves from being scammed by advanced technology? California was reported to have the most cases in 2022, with 80,766 incidents. While people under 20 are the least affected, adults ages 20-29 have lost $383.1 million.

Even with warnings every year from the government about scammers, this problem continues to grow larger and larger. Dr. Dan Grissom, associate professor of computer science and department chair for computing, software and data sciences, said scams can look appealing initially.

“People only listen to what they want to listen to,” Grissom said. “At the end of the day, there’s an allure of getting a good deal oftentimes. It’s almost always a good deal. It is something you want or you think you want so you then try and get it impulsively.”

Grace Akintimoye, freshman architecture major, shares on how she feels about CBU protecting her privacy.

“I feel protected online and I think CBU does a good job of protecting students’ privacy,” Akintimoye said.

Briana Willis, freshman business major, shared a similar opinion.

“CBU does a . good job of protecting students online,” Willis said. “I never hear complaints about it. I always feel protected with CBU’s multifactor authentication.”

The ITS Department recently emailed students on Mar. 20 about internet safety and phishing. Students should also be aware of financial aid phishing scams and remember that CBU will never ask for your
personal information in an email.

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