Michigan loses 10th most money in the country to cyber crime
In 2015, Michigan businesses and residents lost a reported $20,591,750 to cyber criminals, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, IC3.
Michigan recorded the 10th most losses in the country. California had the most losses in 2015 with $195,490,403 reportedly lost.
The 2015 report indicated that females lost more money than males did. In 2015, females in Michigan lost more than $11 million while males lost approximately $9 million.
The report also indicated that 3,249 males were victimized and 3,016 females were victimized in 2015.
The age group that contained the most victims was males older than 60 years old, which had 762 victims of cyber crime.
Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Richard Cruz, a cyber crime specialist, said the amount of money lost to cyber criminals is much higher than what is reported.
“They’re not necessarily reporting out the expenses in regards to bringing in the third party to help clean up or overtime for individuals that are helping take care of incidents, so those dollar amounts are usually much, much, much greater than what’s reported to the IC3,” Cruz said.
Cruz added that some businesses do not want the publicity of reporting a cyber crime, so they won’t come to the police or the IC3.
Cruz said a great quantity of the cyber crimes that occur are related to business email accounts.
These sophisticated scams usually target American businesses that regularly wire transfer payments overseas and work with foreign businesses, which resulted in losses of $8,760,475, according to the IC3.
“It’s one of these things where it doesn’t sound like that you’d have a lot of people fall for it, but they do and usually when they’re hit, they’re hit for several thousands of dollars,” Cruz said. “We’ve had Fortune 500 companies hit with millions of dollars in losses with this compromise.”
Cruz said these criminals research and look into a specific business to find the perfect person and area to target.
“They’ll discover the inner workings of the organization and a lot of the times it’s based on what that organization, what that business is posting online,” Cruz said.
Cruz said the majority of the time, the money lost to cyber criminals is sent overseas and the chances of getting the money back from these criminals “is not even possible.’’
To protect against cyber criminals, Cruz said people need to keep their system and software up to date.
“A lot of exploits that are available are only capable of exploiting your computer because your computer is not up to date because you missed a patch, or there’s some type of vulnerable software on your computer,” Cruz said.
Rachel Amey, MSU alumna and banquet captain at the Kellogg Center, said she doesn’t exactly know what the necessary precautions are for preventing being a victim of cyber crime, but mentioned that her Facebook was reportedly hacked around two weeks ago.
“I get on Facebook maybe once a month, so I didn’t really see it until not long ago,” Amey said. “I was like ‘oh, I should probably change my password or something,’ but I had so many notifications that I really didn’t care.”
Cruz also encouraged people to not open suspicious emails from unknown senders.