SACRAMENTO, Calif — In the greater Sacramento region, 6,311 people lost a total of $29,595,487.70 to various cyber crimes in 2018, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Overall, the state of California has the most amount of victims to cyber crimes and the most amount of loss by these victims in the nation, according to the 2018 report on cyber crimes. In California, nearly 50,000 victims lost over $450 million to cyber crimes.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center under the Cyber Division of the FBI works towards informing people of scams and schemes while also helping people after they have been victimized. The center also continually tracks and helps victims of cyber crimes, which can include cyber terrorism, identity theft, and government fraud. The top three types of fraud that, on average, cost the most per victim in 2018 were investment fraud, business email compromise and real estate fraud.
Barbara Wade, a spokesperson for the FBI, said it is suggested people keep their anti-virus software updated and stay aware of current scams to help prevent themselves from being a victim of a cyber crime. The Internet Crime Complaint Center keeps a list of known trends and schemes on their website.
The state of California ranks third in the nation for having a high amount of identity theft cases, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Some tips offered by the center to avoid identity theft include:
- Check to make sure the website or business you're giving your credit card information to is secure and legitimate.
- Ask or find a physical address rather than a P.O. Box or mail drop.
- Do not throw out bank or credit card statements in a usable form.
- Do not give out your credit card number over the phone unless you've made the call.
- Continually monitor your credit statements for fraudulent activity.
- Report unauthorized transactions to your bank or credit card company as often as possible.
- Review a copy of your credit report at least once a year.
Should someone be victimized by cyber crimes, Wade said they should file a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center on their website or call their local FBI office. The center's Recover Asset Team, which has helped victims in the United States recover 75 percent of their losses, will then help the victims in recovering funds.
Definitions of the types of crimes can be found in the Internet Crime Complaint Center's annual report.
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