Colorado ranked among the top 10 in money lost due to internet crimes in 2020, according to a report from the FBI.
Criminals used phishing, spoofing, extortion, and various types of Internet-enabled fraud to target their victims. The FBI says medical workers searching for personal protective equipment, families looking for information about stimulus checks to help pay bills and others impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic were targeted.
In all, the Internet Crime Complaint Center received a record number of complaints in 2020 at 791,790, a 69% increase from 2019. Last year’s reported losses exceeded $4.1 billion.
Extortion counted for many victims of cybercrime in Colorado but business email compromise (BEC) schemes set Coloradans back the most, totaling $48,491,996 in 2020. BEC schemes were the costliest nationwide, with an adjusted loss of approximately $1.8 billion.
The age group that suffered the most in Colorado were those over 60. Not only were most victims over 60, but they lost the most amount of money in 2020, nearly $21 million.
The FBI details that people over 60 who are successfully victimized often continuously by perpetrators.
“Victims over the age of 60 may encounter scams including advance fee schemes, investment fraud schemes, romance scams, tech support scams, grandparent scams, government impersonation scams, sweepstakes/charity/lottery scams, home repair scams, TV/radio scams, and family/caregiver scams,” the FBI details.
The National Cybersecurity Center is offering seven tips for a cyber-safe holiday shopping season.
- Only use direct, well-known URLs for the business. If you’re not sure, double-check.
- Always use caution before you click on links, and always be careful opening attachments.
- Watch for fake package tracking emails, fake “offers” from big brands and fake credit card confirmation requests.
- Ensure that all of your devices have up-to-date anti-virus/anti-malware software.
- Keep your passwords up to date and complex. Use multi-factor authentication wherever possible.
- Most banks and store credit cards offer text alerts for any suspicious activity.
- It is important to avoid unknown public WiFi hotspots.
California was the state most impacted by cybercrimes in 2020.
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