Protect Yourself From Cybercriminals

The more people live their lives online, the more chances there are that they will be victims of cybercrime. Criminals continuously find new ways to harness online tools and technologies to commit crimes. The types of cybercrime that might affect a private individual include bullying, financial fraud, email spoofing, hacking, identity theft, information forgery, intellectual property theft, and stalking. Victims can suffer effects ranging from annoyance to financial ruin. That’s why it’s important to know what to do to prevent and react to a cybercrime.

File a Complaint or Report Cybercrime

It can be hard to know who to contact when cybercrime is discovered. After all, cybercrime is usually committed remotely or even internationally, so it’s hard to know who’s in charge of investigating and stopping it. First of all, if you suspect financial implications, notify your financial institutions. Next, contact your local law enforcement agency. They are obligated to take a report (which will probably be needed by your financial institutions) and make referrals to other agencies. Beyond your local law enforcement agency, you may also need to contact other sources.

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Cases of Cyberbullying

Make sure children, adolescents, and other family members know to get help if they experience bullying online. If they do experience cyberbullying, make sure to save any forum posts, tweets, emails, social media posts, direct messages, or texts from the perpetrator. Keep a record of the bullying and any interaction with the bully. Report the bullying to the administrators of any website where the bullying occurs. Block the person on all social networks, email accounts, and phone numbers. Attempt to avoid the person. Responding to a bully often results in an escalation of the issue. If the situation does escalate, contact local law enforcement.

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Collect and Keep Evidence

No matter which agency investigates a cybercrime, they will need evidence. Evidence might include screenshots of websites or messages and copies of messages/texts/emails. Additionally, computers, phones, and tablets might need to be examined by forensic investigators to see if any malware was put on the victim’s devices. Other evidence to keep may include canceled checks, credit card statements, money order receipts, phone bills, and call logs.

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Cases of Identity Theft

Identity theft is a particularly frightening type of cybercrime. If there is any suspicion of identity theft, immediately change your passwords for online accounts including your email and banking accounts. Check all accounts for suspicious activity, and contact the relevant credit card company or bank to report anything you find. Next, file a complaint with your local law enforcement agency. Banks, credit card companies, and other entities will need a copy of this report.

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Protect Yourself Online

Cybercrimes are often in the news, especially when a large company is targeted and the private information of their customers falls into criminal hands. So does this mean everyone will be a victim? It’s true that someone could do everything right to stay safe and yet still end up a victim of an online crime. However, there are steps everyone can take to minimize the chances of becoming a victim. Many of these tips should be common sense. Be careful about the Wi-Fi networks you use, don’t click on suspicious emails, and keep all devices updated with the latest bug fixes and patches.

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