Here’s what to do if you are the victim of a cybercrime.
Peoples Bank invests significant resources to protect itself against cybercrime, and in so doing, protects you. The bank also distributes important information to help community businesses and consumers stay safe from cyber criminals. Despite all effort, some cybercrimes succeed. Here’s what to do if it has happened to you.
What is cybercrime? Crimes committed via the internet, such as online-identity theft, financial fraud, online stalking or bullying, hacking, email-spoofing, data breaches, information forgery, intellectual property crime, and other forms of technical online-based criminal activity.
Businesses and consumers have no legal basis for pursuing retribution or justice from cybercrime. That responsibility lies with government agencies. The nature of cybercrime makes it difficult to investigate and prosecute. The crime crosses jurisdictional (counties, countries, etc.) and legal boundaries. To complicate things even more, technology allows cybercriminals to affect a wide area, quickly, and then quickly disappear before law enforcement is aware of the problem.
In the United States, law enforcement is getting better at quickly seeing cyber criminal activity and have the tools to bring such ones to justice, sometimes before they cause harm.
- Local law enforcement is a good place to start when you need to report a cybercrime. They have a responsibility to assist, and often your having a record of such a report will protect you from financial loss.
- Another place to report the crime may be the Internet Crime Complaint Center (known as IC3). This organization is trained to assess the facts of the matter and to direct the complaint where it can be handled most effectively, whether it be the FBI or other federal or state agency.
- The Federal Trade Commission maintains a database called the Consumer Sentinel used by law enforcement agencies to detect patterns of cybercrime and thus get valuable insight for successful capture and prosecution.
It is always a good idea to report the crime to local law enforcement and get a copy of the report in writing.
Experts recommend that you also record and maintain evidence of the crime, even if law enforcement doesn’t ask you to. Keep the evidence clear, and in a safe place. It may be requested later in the process of investigation or prosecution. Remember that evidence would include those items supporting financial activity, so keep cancelled checks, receipts, print-outs of text or group chat messages, bank and credit card statements, even envelopes with their recorded date of cancelled postage. If the evidence includes emails, be sure to print out or store the entire message, including the “header” with the full date, subject, sender and recipient information.
Change your passwords! If your email or bank account has been hacked, take immediate action to change the email account password and the password of the hacked account. Typically, both accounts are connected to the crime. The password should be “long and strong”, and you should keep it safely stored in a place that is not obvious (such as on your computer screen or under the keyboard).
Consider what other information may also be at risk, and move to secure it. For example, if you think that your driver’s license number was included in the stolen item list, contact the department of motor vehicles. You may need also to contact the credit bureaus and discuss whether to place a fraud alert on your account.
Nobody should be a victim of a cybercrime. Take precautions against it by securing your accounts with a “long and strong” password that is different for each account; no bank account password should be shared with another organization’s online account. It is OK to write your password down, just don’t put it where somebody can find it easily, and don’t label it to make it easy for someone to use.