With the enhancement of digitization, cybercrime has become one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world. Think about the economic impact on communities when $420 billion is lost each year, those who get cyberbullied, or children trapped by online predators. The U.S. has around 40% of adult Internet users report having personally experienced cyberbullying in their lifetime.
The Cybercrime Support Network (CSN) serves individuals and businesses impacted by cybercrime in the U.S. Other than that, you can also register complaints with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) in case you become a victim of online fraud. The increase in the number of cybercrime cases has also increased the demand for digital forensics, with the market expected to reach $30.78 billion by 2030. Cybercrime has become a large problem, so it’s important to know how to report a cybercrime online and identify its types, examples, and other associated details.
Different Types of Cybercrimes
Email fraud, social media fraud, banking fraud, cyber espionage, identity theft, spyware, etc, are some of the most common forms of cybercrime. Here is a breakdown of the different types in detail.
A common type of social engineering attack, phishing, attempts to trick unsuspecting users into disclosing personal information. This is typically committed by impersonating trusted, well-known brands or businesses and creating fake social media profiles and rogue websites to entice users into visiting them. The rate of this cybercrime has increased alarmingly; according to a Statista report, 14.6% of phishing attacks worldwide were directed toward e-commerce during the first quarter of 2022.
In phishing, cybercriminals create the appearance of an authentic website and ask users to fill out forms with personal information so that they can receive benefits, such as discounts or gift hampers. These sites then get information out of personal browsers by using malicious scripts.
Malware is a broad term that refers to different cyberattacks like Trojans, viruses, and worms. In other words, it is code written to steal data or destroy files on a computer.
Viruses: Viruses get attached to files and infect them by disrupting core functionality and deleting or corrupting files. They are typically disguised as executable files downloaded from the Internet.
Trojan: This refers to a computer program that operates invisibly, and installs security back doors through which other viruses can enter the system.
Worms: Worms use the network interface to infect a large number of devices, either locally or remotely.
This is the act of asking people to send money with the promise of receiving a much larger sum shortly. Initially, these types of scams were carried out using fax machines, phones, and traditional mail. Now, however, the Internet has made them much easier and widespread among cybercriminals. An example of such fraud is the Nigerian Letter Scam. In this kind of scam, someone claiming to be a government official, bank official, or businessperson requests help from the potential victim to transfer money out of Nigeria in exchange for the promise of a commission. The request is typically sent through email, leading to the illegal transfer of money. It is also known as the “419” scam, after the number of Nigerian laws that it violates.
According to the FBI, identity theft occurs when criminals try to unlawfully obtain another individual’s personal information and use it to commit fraud. While such thefts are not always the result of a cyberattack, malware such as Trojans and spyware are frequently used to steal personal information.
Phishing is counted among the most common methods of identity theft and is used by cybercriminals to obtain confidential information via emails or texts.
The unauthorized reproduction, distribution, and use of the software are referred to as software piracy. Pirated software includes counterfeited commercial products, illegal downloads, and violations of licensing agreements that restrict the number of users who can access a program.
Up to 37% of software installed on personal computers worldwide is unlicensed. Pirated software also contributes to the spread of malware, which can be inserted into unauthorized software copies by cybercriminals.
Examples of Cybercrimes
As cybercrimes go, scam emails can be very damaging. People are duped into transferring funds to a fraudulent account. This results in significant financial loss when the funds cannot be traced or recovered.
Another example of cybercrime is stealing someone’s credit card information to illegally acquire or purchase goods or services over the Internet. Tampering with sensitive government data is also an example of a cybercrime.
User account theft is also a cybercrime. Here, the attackers obtain private information, such as passwords, to access user accounts in other online services. From 2013 to 2016, Yahoo experienced a serious data breach that resulted in the theft of three billion user accounts.
In 2016, over one million connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices were compromised by attackers who exploited existing software vulnerabilities. It was one of the biggest Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, causing outages in the global Domain Name System (DNS) and affecting popular services such as Netflix, Twitter, etc.
Steps to Report a Cybercrime
The steps and process of reporting cybercrimes may vary depending on their severity, location, and several other factors. The steps mentioned below will help you report a cybercrime effectively.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the official website of the U.S. government that protects consumers by preventing anticompetitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices. You can file a complaint with the FTC about a variety of issues. While the FTC cannot resolve individual complaints, it can guide to proceed through the next steps.
According to the FTC, complaints can assist its law enforcement partners in detecting patterns of fraud and abuse, which may lead to investigations and the cessation of unfair business practices. There is a secure online database where the complaints are saved. Later, this information is used by local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies.
Your Email Provider
About 3.4 billion phishing emails are sent to unsuspecting recipients. At this rate, over one trillion email scams are sent in a single calendar year. Most email providers have built-in mechanisms for reporting email scams. Outlook, Gmail, and Yahoo! all have a “report phishing button” that you can use to get rid of scam emails.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) provides you with an online form for reporting Internet fraud, such as phishing. Here is a breakdown of the steps that you can follow to report the crime.
- Name the complainant. If you were the victim of a specific incident, you need to mention that.
- If you are filling out the form on behalf of another individual or business, select “No” to the question that says, “Were you the victim in this incident?” and provide your contact information.
- Add all the essential information related to the victim. If you are reporting on behalf of a business, please include any Points of Contact (POCs) at the business in the given sections.
- Provide data related to financial transactions. You can proceed to the next section if there are no financial details.
- You will need to describe the whole incident. There is also a special column to give additional information. Lastly, confirm your agreement by typing your full name and signature.
Local Law Enforcement
If you are a victim of any type of cybercrime, notify your local authorities immediately and file a complaint. Keep and document all evidence related to the incident and its suspected source. You can file a complaint with the following government organizations: US-CERT.gov, FTC.gov, IC3.gov, and SSA.gov.
Your Workplace IT Department
Cybercrime losses are frequently reported by businesses of all sizes. Furthermore, a study conducted a few years ago showed that the majority of cyber theft against businesses was committed internally by the company’s employees, contractors, and vendors. This includes unauthorized access to computer materials with intent to commit or facilitate the commission of further offenses, illegal acts with intent to impair, manipulating a computer to the point of causing serious damage, etc.
Local Victim Services Provider
Most communities in the U.S. have victim advocates ready to assist them in the case of serious criminal offenses. They can provide information, emotional support, and advocacy as and when required. The Crime Victim Services Directory assists users in locating victim services in the U.S. and other countries.
Accumulate and Preserve Evidence
The response to cybersecurity incidents in the private sector includes specific procedures that must be followed to contain the incident, investigate it, and resolve it.
There are two primary approaches to dealing with a cybersecurity incident: recovering quickly or gathering evidence.
- The first approach is concerned with incident containment to minimize harm rather than data preservation and/or collection
- The second method monitors the cybersecurity incident and focuses on digital forensic applications to collect evidence and information about the incident
Digital evidence is volatile and fragile, and improper handling can alter it. So, the protocols must be followed to ensure that data does not tamper with.
Following a step-by-step procedure will lead to the preservation of evidence after any cybercrime activity. This will enable law enforcement officials to take necessary action.
National Cybercrime Reporting Portal
A cybercrime victim gets different options from government agencies to file a complaint.
- The Internet Crime Complaint Center handles all the complaints related to Internet crimes or cybercrimes. IC3 then forwards these complaints to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement.
- The Federal Trade Commission, or the FTC, informs all levels of law enforcement about consumer complaints and online scams.
- Econsumer.gov is an International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) project that accepts complaints about online shopping and e-commerce transactions with foreign companies. You can file a complaint against a scam in a variety of categories. These include online shopping, Internet services, computer equipment, credit and debit, jobs, travel, etc.
It is critical to learn how to identify common scams and fraud by becoming familiar with the warning signs. If you want a better understanding of the technical aspects of cybersecurity, choose upskilling with Emeritus’ online cybersecurity courses to enhance your knowledge. The courses are designed to teach students how to navigate global cyberspace, assess vulnerabilities, and develop digitally defensive strategies for organizations.
By Mikhil Pathak
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