Don’t get “Fooled”!
Each year the FBI releases the “Internet Crime Report”. While the 2021 report has yet to be released, the 2020 report included 791,790 complaints of suspected internet crime, an increase of more than 300,000 complaints from 2019 and reported losses exceeding $4.2 billion.
According to the report, the top three crimes reported by victims were phishing scams, non-payment/non-delivery scams, and extortion. Victims lost the most money to business email compromise scams, romance and confidence schemes, and investment fraud.
Notably, 2020 saw the emergence of scams exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 28,500 complaints related to COVID-19, with fraudsters targeting both businesses and individuals. The entire report can be found at ic3.gov.
While it seems impossible to stay on top of potential security threats to our businesses and lives there are measures we can take to protect ourselves and resources to help!
The FBI, offers information about cyber crimes including the most common scams and crimes at fbi.gov/resources/businesses and ic3.gov. There you can find tips to help prevent you from being victimized and if you are a victim, how to report it to the FBI.
Another great resource is the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). At sba.gov (Business Guide page) you will find tips and resources to protect your business from cybersecurity and other threats. Including common threats, cybersecurity best practices and how to assess your business risk.
Training your employees to protect your business from threats is a critical part of protecting your business. Check out STOP-THINK-CONNECT at stopthinkconnect.org for tip sheets and short videos. Topics include basic cybersecurity tips and advice, technology checklists, staying safe online during tax time, safe online shopping and raising privacy-savvy kids.
The Better Business Bureau’s business resource page at bbb.org offers tips and articles about business and cybersecurity. Be sure to check out the BBB SCAM TRACKER. This interactive page allows you to click on any state to see the most recent scams including details of what occurred (if you go there, be prepared to go down a rabbit hole). There is also a link to report scams right on the page.
The Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov also takes reports of scams and offers tips to avoid being scammed including “5 things you can do to avoid a Coronavirus scam” You can file a report through their website or call them at: 1-877-438-4338.
Closer to home is the office of the Maine Attorney General at maine.gov/ag. Click on the consumer Information link to be taken to the scam page where you will find a description of recent scams used on Maine consumers and links to the Maine Attorney and Federal Trade Commission consumer complaint sites. They also recommend if you have been a victim of a scam or identify theft to call the Maine Attorney General’s Office at: 1-800-436-2131.
I hope you find this information helpful and it protects you and your business!