Cybersecurity is an increasingly important issue. Just last year, 143 million U.S. consumers were affected - that’s over half of the U.S. population of adults online. The FBI ranks Michigan 16th in the country for cybercrimes, with a loss of over 25 million dollars in 2017 alone.
October is National Cybersecurity Month, providing an opportunity to arm consumers with information to protect themselves from cybercriminals.
Paul Benda is the Senior Vice President of Risk and Cybersecurity Policy for the American Bankers Association. He says there are several ways to reduce your losses if you’ve been a victim of cybercrime.
“If you do detect fraud, contact your bank immediately, they’ll freeze your account so people can’t steal more of your money,” Benda says, “if someone has stolen money because of fraud, file a police report. Another resource is identitytheft.gov, it gives you some good steps on how to combat identity theft, as well as contact information for all the credit bureaus, so you can call and say it wasn’t you making these transactions.”
Benda also warns about email phishing schemes. He says these aren’t the ridiculous emails of yesteryear, they’re now more advanced than ever.
“Criminals will send you emails that look exactly like an email from your bank, and they ask for your account information,” he says, “they might send you an email that says “hey we’ve detected a fraudulent transaction, please login here. Even though it looks like your bank, that link or that login doesn’t go back to your bank, it goes back to them. Instead of following links to get to your bank’s website, have it bookmarked, and so you know you’re going there.”
Benda says one of the safest ways to communicate with your bank is through its mobile app. He says banks spend billions of dollars on cybersecurity technology, including those used to encrypt mobile apps. While banks have cybersecurity covered on their end, Benda says the best way for consumers to protect their information and pocketbooks is to exercise common sense and caution.
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