Four Facts You Should Know About Cybercrime

What is Cybercrime?

Cybercrime involves illegal activities using computers or the internet, targeting or utilizing computer networks and digital devices. It extends traditional crime into the digital sphere, encompassing a broad spectrum from identity theft to privacy violations. The digital age has made cybercrime a significant concern, with our virtual identities being central to our daily lives​​​​.

Common Types of Cybercrime Affecting Individuals

Cybercrime manifests in various forms, including but not limited to identity theft, internet fraud, ATM and wire fraud, hacking and computer viruses. These activities highlight the digital extension of existing criminal behaviors, exploiting the pervasive use of the internet and digital devices in commerce, entertainment and government​​.

Fact #1: Credit Card Fraud Tops the List of Cybercrimes

Credit card fraud, a leading type of cybercrime, often stems from phishing campaigns. These campaigns trick individuals into revealing sensitive information through deceptive emails or websites. Cybercriminals craft emails or messages that appear legitimate, enticing victims to click on malicious links or attachments, leading to personal data theft​​.

Steps to Take If Your Credit Information Is Compromised

If you suspect your credit information has been compromised, it's crucial to act swiftly to minimize damage. Start by alerting your credit card issuer to flag or freeze your account, monitor your account statements for unauthorized transactions and file a report with local law enforcement and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). 

If you believe you shared financial information with someone suspicious, please contact Ideal CU immediately.

Fact #2: The Rising Threat of Online Shopping Scams

The prevalence of online shopping scams is a significant concern, with the FTC reporting it as a major fraud category. To safeguard against these scams, it's critical to recognize the red flags:

  • Ensure the Website is Secure and Reputable: Exercise caution with any ecommerce site. Check for “https” secure connection but remember that padlock icons alone do not guarantee reputability; any unfamiliar site could potentially be a scam.
  • Pressure Tactics and Unbelievable Deals: Be cautious of offers that seem too good to be true and sellers pressuring for an immediate purchase.
  • Suspicious Payment Requests: Legitimate sellers typically accept credit cards or reputable payment platforms. Be wary of demands for payment via wire transfer or gift cards.
  • Lack of Seller Information: A legitimate online shop will provide clear contact details, return policies and shipping information.

Safe Practices for Online Shopping

To ensure a safe online shopping experience:

  • Verify the Legitimacy of the Shop: Check for accreditation, such as with the Better Business Bureau and confirm the presence of contact information on the shop's site.
  • Use Secure Payment Methods: Prefer payment options that offer buyer protection, like credit cards or PayPal.
  • Check Reviews on Third-Party Sites: Look for customer feedback on both the shop's website and third-party review sites to gauge their reliability and service quality.

Fact #3: The Importance of Regularly Monitoring Your Financial Statements

Regularly checking your financial statements is vital for identifying and acting on unauthorized transactions promptly. Infrequent monitoring increases the risk of prolonged exposure to fraud, making recovery more challenging.

Tools and Tips for Keeping an Eye on Your Accounts

  • Set Up Alerts: Many financial institutions offer the option to receive alerts for transactions, helping you to monitor account activity in real-time. Ideal CU offers Free Debit Card Alerts which allow you to set up custom alerts to be sent to your mobile phone or email address. Learn more and turn on this feature within Ideal Digital Banking.
  • Use Financial Management Apps: These can consolidate information from various accounts, providing a comprehensive overview of your finances and any unusual activity.

Fact #4: The Underreporting of Cybercrime and Its Costly Impact

The vast and increasing cost of cybercrime is a pressing global issue, with a severe lack of underreporting compounding the problem. In 2023, it is estimated that less than 25% of cybercrimes were reported to law enforcement. This underreporting, combined with the escalating sophistication and frequency of attacks, underscores the critical need for robust cybersecurity measures. The current and future financial impact is profound, with global cybercrime costs expected to reach $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. Though this number is incomprehensibly large, we focus on preventing the devastating impact that becoming a victim could have on any one of our members.

Practical Measures to Strengthen Your Cyber Defense

To enhance your cybersecurity, especially concerning financial information, consider implementing the following measures:

  1. Keep all devices and software updated to guard against the latest threats.
  2. Create complex passwords and manage them with a password manager.
  3. Add multi-factor authentication to significantly reduce unauthorized access risks.
  4. Learn to identify suspicious emails and messages and avoid clicking unknown links.
  5. Strengthen your home network with a robust Wi-Fi password and consider a VPN.
  6. Regularly review your bank statements and activate alerts for unusual activities.
  7. Maintain regular backups of crucial data to mitigate ransomware or data loss impacts.
  8. Stay informed on cybersecurity threats and best practices to protect yourself.
  9. Invest in comprehensive antivirus and anti-malware software for better security.
  10. Report any cybercrime suspicions to the relevant authorities immediately.

Ideal CU's Proactive Cybersecurity Practices

Ideal Credit Union is committed to empowering its members with knowledge and tools to protect themselves in an increasingly digital world. By promoting proactive cybersecurity practices, Ideal CU aims to support our community of informed and vigilant members who can confidently navigate the complexities of the online landscape. Secure your digital footprint and start living Your Ideal Life today!

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