Each week, the FBI works to help Oregonians #BeCyberAware as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. This week: the basics of cybersecurity.
“What are the most common scams we see in Oregon? “
The most common cyber scams we see in Oregon, ranked by the number of complaints filed with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaints Center, are:
- online shopping
- romantic scams
- business email scams
In terms of dollar losses, business email scams are at the top of the list.
“What are the most important things I should know about cyber scams? “
Here are three of the most important things to protect yourself from cyber scams:
- Never click on any links or attachments in emails, text messages, or social media posts. They may contain malware that will infect your device or direct you to a scam (but real-looking) website to collect user ID and password information.
- Don’t share personal or sensitive information with people you meet online. You can never take compromising photos again… and no one should contact you unsolicited to ask for financial or health information.
- Trust your instincts. As the old saying goes, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
“What are some simple steps you can take today to increase your online security?” “
There are a number of simple steps you can take to dramatically increase your online security:
- Lock down all your social media accounts with security and privacy in mind. Restrict your friend lists to include only those you know and trust in real life.
- Configure your devices, software, and apps to update automatically.
- Make sure that every online account, whether it’s your preferred shopping portal or your utility provider, has strong security. This means using strong passwords or passphrases and / or multi-factor authentication.
“What is social engineering? “
A con artist uses social engineering to generate intense emotion in you to get you to act quickly without thinking. This emotion can be fear, anger, excitement, or even curiosity.
Examples include scams where you are told that you are in trouble with the law, that you have won a huge lottery, or that you need to immediately help a family member in danger.
The scammer will use your heightened emotion to trick you into giving them money or personal information.
“What should I do if I am the victim of a cyber scam? “
If you are the victim of a cyber scam, the first thing to do is to contact your bank, the company that issued your credit card, or another financial institution. Let them know you suspect fraud and ask them to lock your accounts.
In some cases, you may need a police report to file a fraud complaint. Contact your local police department to do so.
Regularly check your credit report for persistent problems. Everyone is entitled to at least one report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus. In these times of COVID, they are offering Americans even more frequent options. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to know more.
Finally, report the fraud to the FBI through our Internet Crime Complaints Center at www.ic3.gov.