The FBI has released its annual 2021 Internet Crime Report, which found that South Carolina lost a total of $1,427,480 to cyber attacks last year. This is an increase of over $400,000 from the previous year, and puts the state at 14th in the nation for total losses. The most common type of attack was email scams, which accounted for nearly 60% of all losses. Businesses were the hardest hit, losing over $900,000 to cyber attacks. The report also found that many victims were targeted multiple times, and that nearly 1 in 10 victims lost over $50,000.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and sharing data related to cyber crime. The 2021 Internet Crime Report is based on the complaints they received last year.
IC3 said the top three schemes with the largest losses were:
- Email Compromise (EC): This is when someone uses fraudulent or spoofed emails to trick victims into sending them money. EC scams accounted for nearly $900,000 in losses in South Carolina last year.
- Non-Payment/Non-Delivery: This is when someone orders goods or services but doesn’t pay for them. Non-payment/non-delivery scams accounted for over $200,000 in losses in South Carolina last year.
- Investment Fraud: This is when someone tries to trick you into investing in a fake business or product. Investment fraud scams accounted for over $100,000 in losses in South Carolina last year.
Data shows senior citizens 60 years and old were the most likely to be victimized, losing a total of $400,000 to cyber attacks. This is an increase of over $100,000 from the previous year.
The best way to protect yourself from cyber attacks is to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect your information. Here are some tips from the FBI:
- Don’t click on links or open attachments in emails unless you’re sure they’re from a trusted source.
- Don’t give out personal or financial information over email, even if the email looks like it’s from a trusted source.
- Use strong passwords for all your online accounts, and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.
- Keep your anti-virus software up to date, and run regular scans of your computer.
- Be cautious about who you share information with on social media, and don’t post anything you wouldn’t want someone to steal.
- Be aware of phishing scams, which are emails or websites that look legitimate but are actually trying to steal your personal information.
- If you’re not sure if an email or website is legitimate, contact the company directly to check.
- If you think you’ve been a victim of a cyber attack, report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint.
Overall, cyber attacks are a serious problem, and they’re only going to become more common. It’s important to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect yourself. South Carolina lost a total of $1,427,480 to cyber attacks last year, so we all need to do our part to stay safe online. By taking steps to protect your information and working with a managed information technology services provider, you can help keep your business safe from cyber criminals.ss safe from cyber criminals.